An impacted tooth is a tooth that is blocked or “stuck” underneath the gum line, and does not erupt into its correct position on its own. Most often, an impacted tooth will be a third molar, or wisdom tooth, though it is a common occurrence in canine teeth as well. Canine teeth are located at the corners of the arch, next to the incisors. They have one pointed edge (cusp) which is used for holding, grasping, and tearing food. Because of the canine’s long root, they are very strong, stable teeth. Canines are usually the last teeth to erupt, and usually do so when your child is around the age of 12 or 13.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic examination by the age of seven, which allows us the opportunity to monitor your child’s teeth eruption and detect impactions early.
Most exposures are done in the office by Dr. Whateley, using a numbing agent and Laser. The Laser is a device that removes a small amount of tissue to uncover the tooth so that we can bond an orthodontic bracket on it to help it "erupt" properly. Depending on the severity of the impaction, we may need to use an additional device, called a TAD to help direct it into the proper space. It typically takes 4-9 months for an impacted cuspid to come in, but rest assured we will be getting all of the remaining teeth into their proper postions while that is happening!
With early detection and combined laser and orthodontic treatment, impacted canines can be allowed to erupt and/or be guided to the most ideal position in your child’s mouth.