Blog > Understanding and Treating Impacted Canines

Understanding and Treating Impacted Canines

Orthodontic treatment for impacted canines. Aspen Orthodontics

Impacted teeth are a common dental issue, particularly among children and teenagers. An impacted tooth is one that fails to emerge through the gums or only partially breaks through, often leading to discomfort and potential oral health complications.

While wisdom teeth are frequently associated with impaction, canine teeth, crucial for a functional bite, are also commonly impacted.

In this comprehensive guide, we at Aspen Orthodontics delve into the causes, detection, and effective treatment of impacted canines, emphasizing the importance of early orthodontic intervention.

Understanding Impacted Canines:

Canine teeth, also known as cuspids, play a vital role in our dental structure. Located at the corners of the dental arch, next to the incisors, they are characterized by a single pointed cusp, ideal for holding, grasping, and tearing food. Canines are renowned for their long roots, making them some of the strongest and most stable teeth in the human mouth. Typically, canines are the last to erupt, usually around the age of 12 or 13.

The Significance of Early Orthodontic Evaluation:

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children undergo an orthodontic examination by the age of seven. This early evaluation is crucial as it allows orthodontists to monitor the eruption of teeth, including canines, and detect any impactions promptly. At Aspen Orthodontics, we prioritize early detection to ensure timely and effective treatment, minimizing the risk of complications associated with impacted canines.

Causes of Impacted Canines:

Several factors can contribute to canine impaction. Genetic predisposition plays a significant role, as does the lack of sufficient space in the dental arch for the canines to erupt properly. Other contributing factors include the presence of extra teeth, abnormal growths, or prolonged retention of baby teeth, which can obstruct the path of the erupting canine.

Symptoms and Detection:

Impacted canines may not always be immediately noticeable, especially if they are not causing pain. However, some common signs include delayed eruption of canines, visible gaps where canines should be, or swelling and tenderness in the gums. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays are essential tools for early detection. At Aspen Orthodontics, we employ advanced imaging techniques to accurately diagnose and plan the treatment for impacted canines.

Treatment Options:

The treatment for impacted canines typically involves a combination of surgical and orthodontic procedures. The first step is a minor surgical procedure to expose the impacted tooth. This is done by making a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the hidden tooth. Once the tooth is exposed, there are two paths to treatment:

  1. Natural Eruption: In some cases, once the tooth is exposed, it may erupt naturally into its correct position. This approach is less invasive and relies on the natural eruption process.
  2. Guided Eruption: More commonly, an orthodontic bracket is attached to the exposed tooth. This bracket, connected to the rest of the orthodontic apparatus, gently guides the canine into its proper position over time. This method is highly effective in ensuring that the canine integrates correctly into the dental arch.

The Role of Orthodontics in Treatment:

Orthodontic treatment plays a pivotal role in addressing impacted canines. At Aspen Orthodontics, we design a customized treatment plan for each patient. This plan may include braces or other orthodontic devices to create space in the dental arch and facilitate the proper alignment of the canine. Our goal is to not only treat the impaction but also to achieve a harmonious, functional bite and an aesthetically pleasing smile.

Prevention and Aftercare:

Preventive measures for impacted canines include regular dental check-ups and addressing any early signs of crowding or misalignment. After treatment, maintaining good oral hygiene and following the orthodontist’s instructions are crucial for the success of the treatment. Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor the progress and make any necessary adjustments.


Impacted canines, while a common dental issue, require prompt and effective treatment to prevent long-term oral health problems. Early detection through regular orthodontic evaluations, combined with the right treatment approach, can successfully address this condition. At Aspen Orthodontics, we are committed to providing our patients with the highest standard of care, ensuring that every child we treat achieves a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.

If you suspect your child may have an impacted canine or if it’s time for their first orthodontic evaluation, don’t hesitate to contact Aspen Orthodontics. Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the process, from initial consultation to successful treatment completion. Schedule an appointment today and take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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