Impacted Canines

Posted on Sep 21, 2016 in News
Impacted Canines

All 8 year olds should have an orthodontic examination to make sure it’s all smiles when the eye teeth arrive.
Impacted canines provide a strong example of why early identification of orthodontic issues can make a huge difference. Impaction occurs when one or more teeth fails to grow in the correct position and is held below the normal gum line. This can be complete or unerupted impaction (where the tooth is buried) or partial impaction when just part of the tooth is visible in the mouth.

Everyone should have canine teeth in each upper and lower jaw. They are the “eye” teeth (fangs in animals) that are in line with the corner of the mouth. They have an important tearing function as well as being fundamental to the correct appearance of a smile. Normally, the adult canine teeth in the upper jaw appear in the mouth between the ages of 10 and 13 years. Just before then, they can usually be felt as bumps on the gum.

Out of all the teeth, canines have the longest path of eruption to travel from their initial formation to their final position in the mouth. Because of this, the canine tooth most commonly goes off course and becomes impacted. Canines can fail to grow completely on one or both sides; this can either leave a gap between the incisors and premolars or the “baby” canine tooth can be retained, which in time will look too narrow or too short. Misplaced canines can also grow in the wrong place. They can also erupt at the wrong angle or even behind the teeth in the palate.

impacted-canines-1As canines are very important for function and appearance, if they are impacted, your dentist should refer your child to an orthodontic team that includes an oral and maxillofacial surgeon as early as possible. Early treatment of impacted canines is the key to successful treatment. If diagnosed early, intervention by extracting the baby tooth results in the tooth erupting normally in 78% of cases.

If early diagnosis is missed, then a surgical procedure is required under a general anaesthetic to lift up the gum and bone surrounding the tooth, placing an attachment to the tooth and orthodontically bringing the tooth into the mouth. At this point the canine has usually erupted towards the middle of the palate behind the upper middle front teeth. Under these circumstances orthodontic treatment is usually a prolonged procedure sometimes taking as long as 3 to 4 years to correct the wayward tooth. That is why we recommend all children have an orthodontic examination at 8 years old. Early diagnosis and intervention is the key to avoid surgical procedures in the mouth and prolonged orthodontics

Big smiles all round
Impacted caninesSome children will miss that all important early examination. At Moira Wong Orthodontics we have many years of experience in successfully dealing with impacted canines. Our team combines the orthognathic (jaw) surgeons and orthodontists that can ensure a bright and straight smile at the end of treatment. If your child has been diagnosed with impacted canines, please get in touch. They won’t have to give their eye tooth for a great smile!

If you have dental concerns, please make an appointment with us.
Dr. Moira Wong – Orthodontist

An exceptionally skilled orthodontist who simply loves to improve the smiles of adults and children.

Dr Moira Wong (GDC no: 67960, UK) developed an ambition to specialise in the field of orthodontics during her time as a dentistry student at the London Hospital Medical College. After graduating in 1994, she gained experience in all fields of dentistry prior to specialisation. This included working as part of the Pennstar trauma team at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Wong’s career pathway began with a spell as a house officer in prosthetic dentistry at the Royal London Hospital, followed by senior house officer positions at the Bristol Dental Hospital. During this period she gained her fellowship in dental surgery and worked in the paediatric dentistry department, treating special needs children and addressing complicated developmental problems. She also worked with adults requiring the replacement of multiple teeth.

Returning to London to take up a position as a senior house officer in oral surgery, Dr Wong gained experience in dental and facial surgery. One of her busiest nights was helping with the suturing of patients following a national rail crash.

Dr Wong was then accepted onto the specialty training programme at Guy’s Hospital, where she spent a further three years gaining her master’s degree. She continued onto a consultant training programme at King’s College and St George’s Hospital, gaining her Fellowship in orthodontics. Currently less than 300 UK practitioners have this level of training, with just 5 to 10 people gaining the accreditation in an average year.

Today, Dr Wong has acquired an excellent reputation for her highly sophisticated work and approachable, communicative manner. Her ambition is to be recognised as nothing less than the best orthodontist in London.