Ensure Impacted Canine Teeth Properly Function

Teeth naturally grow into your mouth by breaking through the gums and moving into position. Occasionally, a tooth gets stuck beneath the gum and is unable to grow into the mouth properly. When this occurs, the tooth is considered to be impacted. Wisdom teeth can become impacted, but because they are not necessary for oral health, are simply extracted. Canine teeth, however, play a crucial role in a healthy bite and alignment.

Each of our doctors treat impacted canine teeth with a procedure called expose and bond. If you or your child have an impacted tooth, we encourage you to contact Southern Oral & Facial Surgery in Franklin and Thompson’s Station, TN, for a consultation.

Why Treat an Impacted Tooth?

When wisdom teeth become impacted, they are simply removed. Canine teeth, however, play a critical role in your overall health. You have two canine teeth located on either side of your four front, top teeth. They are long and pointy, named after the large fang-like teeth found in canines. The role of canine teeth is to bite and tear into food. Their presence helps keep the four front teeth in place. When one or both canine teeth are impacted, you can have a misaligned bite and improper ability to bite into food. Your front teeth can shift out of alignment, causing even worse bite misalignment.

To receive proper treatment, it is important to be aware of your symptoms so you can receive an early diagnosis of any impacted teeth. Sometimes, impaction can cause misalignment and costly orthodontic treatments. To identify an impacted tooth, look for puffiness, swollen gum tissue, tenderness, redness, or drainage in the area around the tooth. Your oral surgeon will determine if a tooth is impacted by performing a thorough oral exam. If an impacted tooth is suspected, an X-ray or 3D scan will confirm its presence.

A tooth may become impacted due to:

  • Overcrowding of the teeth
  • The presence of extra teeth or lack of adult teeth
  • Unusual growths blocking the tooth’s proper eruption
  • Inability of the tooth to follow the normal growth track

Exposure and bonding is one of the most common and effective treatments for impacted canine teeth. This treatment utilizes the expertise of both your orthodontist and your oral surgeon, who work together to align your teeth properly and allow the impacted tooth to grow into its proper place.

Expose and Bond Procedure

Prior to treatment, you will visit our office for a consultation where one of our oral surgeons will evaluate your oral health. We will likely take 3D scans to view your facial anatomy and tooth positioning. For any procedure, we offer a variety of anesthesia options to ensure patients feel comfortable.

The orthodontist will prepare the mouth by moving your healthy teeth to leave room for the impacted tooth to grow into place. This is often done with braces. When there is enough space, your oral surgeon will surgically expose the impacted tooth and attach an orthodontic bracket and elastic thread. The orthodontist will use this bracket and thread to move the impacted tooth into its proper place gently.

The surgical procedure itself takes about 1 hour, but the total duration of this process can take up to a year. While the impacted tooth is being pulled down, the braces will keep your other teeth in their proper positions.

Types of Anesthesia

There are several anesthesia options available so patients can feel comfortable and at ease during treatment.

A local anesthetic is administered in the specific surgical area and can be used in conjunction with other anesthetic options, such as nitrous oxide. The patient remains awake and only the surgical area is numbed, so the patient can still drive home after.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is administered through a mask when patients experience anxiety before the procedure. It provides mild pain-relieving effects and induces a relaxed state. Your surgeon can pair laughing gas with local anesthesia.

IV sedation renders a sleep-like state in which patients do not feel pain. This is commonly used in dental implant placement and the removal of wisdom teeth. General anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious, is reserved for complex procedures, such as facial trauma or jaw surgery.