You may have heard of the term “impacted teeth” before. Generally you hear of impacted wisdom teeth. These are technically 3rd molars that erupt in our late teens or early twenties. However, many people do not have room for them to erupt and they stay in the bone/gums. This would be considered an impacted wisdom tooth. This is an appropriate blog for an oral surgeon.
In orthodontics, we often deal with “impacted canines.” Canines are the “sharp”, “fang-shaped” teeth – the third from the middle. In the upper jaw, we see impacted canines relatively often. This is because they are the last upper teeth to erupt, and they may not have room. They can then become impacted (stuck) in the roof of the mouth.
The good news is that seeing an orthodontist at a young age can help predict and prevent impacted canines. We see patients as early as 7 years old, mostly to allow the patient to become familiar with the orthodontist, and check for severe problems. We also can predict what treatment might be necessary and when. Many 8, 9, and 10 year olds will have palatal expanders. This is the most common way to make space for those upper canines, and AVOID impacted canines!
We do free initial evaluations in our office, even without a referral from a general dentist. It never hurts to know what might be coming…