The primary teeth, also called baby teeth, erupt between the ages of 8 to 30 months and shed between the ages of 6 to 12 years. The secondary teeth, also called permanent teeth or adult teeth erupt from the age of 6 to 25 years. Impaction can occur during the growth of the secondary teeth when one or more teeth ceases to erupt and remains underneath the gum line, either partially or completely. This is commonly seen in canine teeth (long, pointy teeth in the upper and lower jaw). When canines fail to erupt completely through the gums it is referred to as an impacted canine.
The common causes of canine impaction are :
Canine impaction can cause a sufficient gap in the teeth affecting their function and appearance. Some impacted teeth may push into the adjacent teeth and damage them. Rarely, a cyst can develop around the crown of the impacted canine and push and displace the adjacent teeth.
The impaction of canines can be detected at an early age of 8-9 years. The doctor will diagnose canine impaction through inspection and palpation (examiner feels the size and shape of the teeth by touch). In order to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will order X-rays. This evaluates the position of the impacted canine and condition of the gums. X-rays provides clear evidence to determine the best treatment option.
An impacted canine that doesn’t cause any problems does not need any treatment. The treatment option depends on the type and severity of the alignment of canines. Your doctor may prescribe pain killers to relieve pain and discomfort. You may also be advised to rinse your mouth with warm salt water to soothe your gums. There are various surgical procedures for the treatment of impacted canines.
After surgery, you may feel pain, bleeding and discomfort at the surgical site, for which your doctor will prescribe medications. Swelling can be reduced by applying ice packs. You will be advised to follow a soft and bland diet, until you are comfortable chewing.