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Impacted Canine Exposure


A common dental disorder is the occurrence of impacted canine teeth. Patients have four canine teeth, also referred to as eye teeth, two in the upper jaw, two in the lower jaw. They are positioned directly in line with your eyes, and are known for having an especially strong connection with your jaw and the longest root of all of your teeth. Canine teeth are also the second most likely teeth to be impacted, with your wisdom teeth being the most likely. Dr. Del Valle or Dr. Shahgoli, with the assistance of our team at Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group can assist your canine teeth in coming into position, by exposing them and creating passage for them.

What does impacted mean and why do I want my canine teeth exposed?


When a tooth is impacted, this means that the tooth is stuck, twisted, or positioned in such a way that it is unable to erupt, or fully come out. Without this tooth in place, it disrupts the function of your bite. When wisdom teeth are impacted, your dentist, or surgeons such as Dr. Del Valle and Dr. Shahgoli, often remove them because your wisdom teeth serve no important function. However, impacted canines are critical to your overall bite. You want your canines to come in correctly to:


•  Alignment:Your canine teeth are important to the alignment of your other teeth in that arch. Without them, you are either left with a gap, or with the remaining teeth having shifted to fill that gap. Either way, your overall appearance and function is affected.
•  First Touch:Canine teeth are the first touch when your jaw closes, this plays an important role in your biting mechanism and keeping your TMJ healthy by assisting with proper alignment.


Why are my canine teeth impacted?


Canine teeth can be impacted for many reasons. Some of these include:

•  Overcrowding from your front teeth being out of alignment. We often recommend that children see an Orthodontist very early, by age seven. This may surprise a lot of parents to hear, but seeing an Orthodontist early may help your child in future problems because the Orthodontist may be able to recommend some baby teeth being removed, or spacers being places to assist in proper guidance of the permanent teeth as they come in.
•  Extra Teeth is a common dental disorder that can cause havoc on your bite. They lead to overcrowding and can inhibit the eruption process.



Canine Exposure



Canine exposure begins with determining the right treatment for your situation. We will begin with a full examination including reviewing digital radiographs. We will want to determine the positioning of the impacted tooth as well as the condition and health of your gums. For many of our patients, space will need to be created in your jaw through orthodontics prior to the surgical treatment.


Based on the location of the impacted canine tooth, it can be surgically exposed with a palatal or a buccal surgical approach.

Dr. Del Valle or Dr. Shahgoli will numb the area around the impacted tooth with local anesthesia to reduce discomfort. They will then make an incision to create a small opening or flap in the gum tissue. This will provide access to the impacted tooth. This flap will either be made in the palate or on the facial side of the teeth. In some cases, the crown of the tooth is obscured by bone, meaning we may need to remove a small amount to uncover it.

With the crown exposed, Dr. Del Valle or Dr. Shahgoli will then bond a small bracket to it for orthodontic treatment to assist pulling the canine tooth into position. The gum tissues are then sutured and the tooth is ready for orthodontic treatment.

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