Sometimes, the teeth do not erupt through the gums in the way they are supposed to. These teeth, submerged in the gum tissue, are said to be impacted. When most people think of impacted teeth, they think primarily of wisdom teeth. However, the four canines and at times other teeth can also be impacted, requiring surgical intervention.

Impacted canines are most often treated during the teenage years. No matter your age, however, if you are looking for impacted canine treatment in Mercer Island, WA, we invite you to contact our practice.

What are Canines?

The canines, also known as eye teeth, are the more pointed teeth located on either side of the incisors. These are strong biting teeth, and they play several important roles within your mouth:

  • They are crucial for tearing and chewing your food.
  • They help guide the surrounding teeth into proper alignment.
  • They protect your teeth by preventing them from coming into unhealthy contact.
  • They also help provide you with a full, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Needless to say, if the canines never fully erupt through the gums, it can lead to aesthetic as well as functional problems. These problems can be resolved with impacted canine surgery, which we are happy to perform at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


What Causes Impacted Canines?

There are a number of potential causes of impacted canines. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Alignment problem with some of the surrounding teeth.
  • Early loss or removal of other teeth.
  • Genetic factors.

The most common cause of all, however, is a lack of adequate space for the canines to emerge. This might happen because of the sequence of eruption, e.g., the other front teeth grow in and become fully established before the canines. Also, because canines have longer roots than the other teeth, they can develop more slowly.


How are Impacted Canines Diagnosed?

If you have impacted canines, the issue will likely be identified by your regular dentist or orthodontist. If your canines do not erupt by the appropriate time, your dentist will conduct a thorough physical evaluation, taking note of the position and angulation of adjacent teeth. The dentist will also take X-rays or other images, helping them to see the positioning of the canines underneath the gum tissue. Not only can X-rays help verify whether or not the canines are actually impacted, but they can also help the dentist identify further issues that the impaction is causing, such as misalignment of other teeth.


How are Impacted Canines Treated?

Treatment of impacted canines typically requires surgical intervention. We are pleased to provide this service to patients at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The first step in treatment is ensuring that the canines have enough space to erupt. For some patients, this may require primary teeth (or “baby teeth”) to be removed if they have not already fallen out on their own.

Usually, treatment of impacted canines involves the surgical removal of bone overlying the teeth, providing these teeth with the necessary exposure. Once exposed, the canines may be attached, via a chain, to braces. This helps pull them into proper alignment.

It is important to note that treatment of impacted canines is coordinated with the patient’s orthodontist; in most cases, it is necessary to have braces already on the teeth before the impacted canine can be treated.


What About Recovery from Impacted Canine Treatment?

The procedure itself will be conducted with an appropriate level of sedation, ensuring your comfort and safety throughout.

Following the completion of the surgery, you can expect some mild bleeding at the surgical site. This should not last for more than a day or so. There may also be some minor soreness or discomfort, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relief.

Some additional tips for your impacted canine recovery include:

  • Use ice packs to keep the swelling at bay.
  • Stick to a soft or liquid-based diet until you feel comfortable chewing again.
  • Avoid foods that are crunchy or spicy, as these can inflame the surgical site.
  • Make sure to practice sound oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing.
  • Schedule a follow-up with the orthodontist within two weeks of the procedure.

With any additional questions about recovery from impacted canine surgery, feel free to contact our practice at any time.


Schedule Impacted Canine Surgery on Mercer Island

Impacted canines can be detrimental to your oral health. And they can compromise your smile. To seek surgical treatment for your impacted canines, contact our practice directly. We look forward to hearing from you at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.