When it comes to impacted teeth, most people think about wisdom teeth. And it’s true, located way in the back of your mouth where there’s not much room, these teeth do sometimes get stuck under neighboring teeth. But your canine teeth can become impacted as well. In fact, canines are the second most commonly impacted teeth after wisdom teeth.
While extraction is typically the solution for impacted wisdom teeth, canine teeth are used a lot in biting and they’re also very visible, which means extracting them would leave a noticeable gap in your smile.
Instead of pulling canine teeth, Brandon Kang, DDS, and the team at Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Oakland, California, use a technique called exposure and ligation with Piezosurgery® technology to coax your tooth out. Here’s how this state-of-the-art procedure works.
Treating impacted canines
Regardless of whether your impacted tooth is extracted or repositioned (as with exposure and ligation), treating your tooth early is preferred.
Canines usually come in by age 12, and initiating repositioning at around this age allows the techniques to work in tandem with the body’s natural development. However, exposure and ligation can also be performed during the teen and adult years.
Before treatment, Dr. Kang uses state-of-the-art imaging to capture images of your tooth’s exact position and orientation. These images help guide treatment even before it begins. These images also enable Dr. Kang to spot impaction as early as possible, before pain or other problems develop.
Your canine teeth have the longest roots of all your teeth. Early treatment minimizes the risk of issues related to this very long root since treatment occurs while root development is still occurring.
What happens during treatment
To expose your impacted tooth, Dr. Kang uses Piezosurgery technology, a state-of-the-art technique that uses ultrasonic energy. This technology enables Dr. Kang to incise your jawbone with a very high degree of precision, resulting in less tissue damage and faster recovery.
Once your impacted tooth is exposed, Dr. Kang attaches a tiny gold chain to your tooth. Over the next several months, Dr. Kang uses orthodontic techniques to gently advance the chain, repositioning your canine tooth into its new position.
You may have some swelling and discomfort immediately after your treatment, but these effects resolve shortly afterward. As your tooth shifts during treatment, some minor discomfort can also be expected, especially right after your adjustment visits. Over-the-counter pain medicines and ice packs can help you stay comfortable.
Custom treatments for your beautiful smile
Impacted teeth increase your risk of chronic facial pain and deep infections that can extend into your bone. To learn how we can help with impactions and other oral health problems, book an appointment with Dr. Kang online or over the phone today.