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What is an Impacted Canine?
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  • Sep 26, 2019

What is an Impacted Canine?

How your teeth grow can affect your appearance and how you smile. For good appearances generally, your teeth need to be properly aligned. Impacted canines happen when both of a patient’s canine teeth remain at the alveolar bone, which is the ridge of the bone containing the tooth sockets. This results in the teeth being in an ectopic position.

Identifying orthodontic issues on time is a very good way of reducing extremities. An impact can either be partial or full. A partial impaction of the canines is a situation where parts of the canines are visible while the full impaction is when the teeth are buried. The canine teeth are also known as the eye of the teeth as they are found in the upper and lower jaws of the mouth. They play a significant role in tearing and are also very important in the appearance of a smile. IN the eruption of teeth set and appearance, canine teeth have the longest path of eruption. Where a canine tooth fails to erupt completely, it may leave a gap in between the incisors and the premolars.

When an impacted canine is noticed on time, especially in a child, the individual should be referred immediately to an orthodontist team, which also includes an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Early detection of an impacted canine can help in proper correction and normal growth of the tooth.

Causes of Impacted Canines

  • Extra Teeth

The presence of an extra tooth can contribute to having an impacted canine. Having an extra tooth can stop the eruption of canine teeth by blocking the path from which a canine tooth erupts.

  • Overcrowded teeth

Having overcrowded teeth can also contribute to impacted canines. Poor alignment of the teeth can make the canine teeth clamour for space, thus resulting in the canine teeth not having sufficient space to erupt and function.

  • Unusual growth

In some cases, abnormal growth on the soft tissues of the gum may affect the growth of the canine tooth, which can lead to an impacted canine.

Other causes of impacted canines include:

  • Early loss of teeth or early removal of the baby tooth
  • Problems in teeth aligning
  • Mismatched size of the tooth

The importance of canine teeth

Canine teeth are a unique set of teeth that serve a unique purpose in the mouth. The canine teeth are very indispensable as they perform a unique role in the mouth. Apart from the roles they play, they are placed in a very strategic position being the tooth that has the longest root of all the teeth in the mouth.

The canine teeth are very strong and stable, which makes them suitable for tearing food. The canine teeth also play a very important role in guiding the movement of the lower jaws as well as guiding the positioning of other teeth when the mouth closes. The canine teeth are the first to touch each other when the mouth closes, thereby giving the other teeth guidance on positioning well when the mouth closes.

Aesthetics of the canine teeth

It is found that canine teeth usually have a darker colour than the incisors, which gives a balance between the lightly coloured incisors and the posterior teeth.

An eruption of canine teeth

Canine teeth are usually the last to erupt, which gives them very limited space to work with. Impacted canines if noticed on time ensure a very successful treatment because the older a patient with impacted canine gets, there is a possibility that the impacted canine tooth may not erupt normally even if there is enough space for proper eruption.

Dental examinations, as well as X-ray screenings, should be carried out early enough on patients between the ages of seven to enable the dentist to determine whether there is a problem, with the canine tooth. Usually, in other cases, the baby canine tooth is removed to create sufficient space for the permanent canine teeth to erupt very well and in the right position; this is usually carried out on patients between the ages of ten to thirteen years. In other situations, braces are to be placed on the teeth to enable the teeth to erupt properly.

Consequences of an impacted canine

Having an impacted canine which is not treated will result in the canine teeth staying buried, which might give problems to the patient. An untreated, impacted canine might continue to grow inside the gum in an attempt to find space to grow; the impacted canine may be growing behind other teeth and can end up damaging other adjacent teeth by eating away their roots which might cause some form of pressure and intense pain. An impacted tooth if left untreated can cause a cyst to form around the impacted tooth crown, which may push the tooth out of their normal position.

Treatment of impacted Canine

  1. Exposure of the canine tooth

This type of treatment would involve a small cut in the palate to enable the crown of the impacted canine to be exposed; however, this process is done with the use of anaesthetics. This procedure is done by extracting the adjacent teeth to leave some space for the canine teeth to erupt; however, this is also dependent on the availability of space left for the canine teeth to grow. During this process, the use of orthodontic treatments such as braces is used in helping the teeth to align to its proper position. The exposure treatment of the impacted canine teeth helps to prevent future problems with the canine teeth and also helps in aligning the teeth to give the patient a better and more beautiful smile.

  • Removal of the tooth

The removal of the impacted canine teeth is another way of treatment. This procedure can be resorted to only when it is impossible for the canine teeth to be properly aligned to its original position without causing more problems for the adjacent tooth or all the other teeth as well. This procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. The tooth, when erupted, leaves a gap which is, of course, noticeable which a bridge or denture may be used to correct this gap.

  • Transplanting the canine tooth to its original position

This type of procedure is usually resorted to where a surgical exposure fails or would not be suitable for the correction of an impacted tooth. Before using this method, there should be enough space between the teeth. The dentist or doctor starts by removing the baby teeth and the impacted canine teeth, after which, the permanent tooth is put in its right position. After this procedure, the tooth is usually braced for about two to three weeks to allow the tooth to sit properly in its rightful position.

Instances where a canine tooth cannot be corrected

  • If the canine tooth cannot be transplanted
  • When the impact is severe
  • If there are pathological changes that may result in either cystic formation, infection, etc.
  • If the patient involved does not want an orthodontic treatment


Noticing an impacted canine tooth is very important because it would help in early treatment and proper alienation. Dentists and clinicians should be able to formulate a treatment that would be suitable for their patients and also knowledgeable about the various available treatment options.

The simplest and faster way of treating impacted canine is the extraction of the primary canine to allow proper alignment of the permanent canine teeth to erupt normally. The early removal of the primary canine allows the permanent canine to erupt upright into the dental arch as far as enough space is provided for the eruption.

Get free consultations with Chatfield concerning the treatment of an impacted canine?

At Chatfield, we give a free consultation to patients that are affected by an impacted canine. If you have any questions whatsoever concerning impacted canine teeth and the treatment, feel free to contact us at Chatfield; our qualified team will be available to answer you.

If you also want to have a face to face consultation concerning impacted canine teeth, we also are happy to help you out. Book an appointment with our professional orthodontists and general dentists’ today.

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