Ideally, your child's teeth grow in perfectly straight and healthy, but that is rarely the case. Most people have some minor crookedness or overcrowding.
Unfortunately, some people have such severe overcrowding there isn't enough room for all the teeth to grow, including the canines. If your child's canines aren't appearing, or if they seemed to have stopped growing, keep reading to learn more about impacted canines.
What Do the Canine Teeth Do?
The canine teeth are some of the last teeth to grow. Typically, they don't start growing until the first molars and incisors have already erupted. Your baby's primary canines should start to appear around the age of 16 months. These will remain until your child is about 9 or 12, when primary teeth fall out and are replaced with permanent teeth.
The canine teeth are incredibly important for many reasons. First, they help tear and rip food, making it easier to eat. Along with your incisors, they also help you pronounce words properly. Last, the canine teeth help guide the teeth into place when you close your mouth because they are usually the first teeth to come together.
How Can They Become Impacted?
While any tooth can become impacted, impaction is more common with wisdom teeth and canine teeth. Typically, any tooth becomes impacted because it doesn’t have enough room. Since wisdom teeth and canines grow in after incisors and first molars, the teeth may already be overcrowded, leaving little to no room for the incisors to erupt.
In rare cases, a growth, such as a cyst or tumor, can block the tooth from emerging. Impacted teeth can be fully hidden under the gums, or a piece of the tooth may break through.
What Happens if Teeth Are Impacted?
If your child's incisors aren't able to fully emerge, eating and talking can be complicated, but under the gums, more dangerous complications could be brewing. Pressure from the incisors pushing into other teeth can lead to severe pain, which may even make it difficult to open your mouth or chew food.
Whether or not the teeth are fully impacted or partially erupted, leaving the tooth as-is can lead to cysts. The body may also reabsorb the tooth, so it never erupts. If your child's canines are partially erupted, you also have to worry about keeping it clean, which can be difficult if the teeth are crowded.
Can You Prevent and Treat Impacted Canines?
Depending on the reason, your child's dentist may be able to help avoid impacted canines. For example, if the dentist sees little room for the canines to grow, they may recommend removing some nearby teeth, giving the tooth more room to fully emerge. In most cases, however, you'll just have to treat impacted canines.
If the canine isn't severely impacted, the dentist may wait to see what happens, especially if it is a baby tooth. Even if the teeth grow in crooked because of limited space, future orthodontia treatment can help. Eruption aids can also be used to help teeth emerge, and they include braces or brackets. Finally, if your child has lots of pain or other complications, the tooth may need to be pulled.
The canines are some of the last teeth to emerge, and it's common for the mouth to already be overly crowded, causing impacted canine teeth. Not only does this affect your child's self-esteem, it can hinder eating and speaking, and cysts and severe decay may be in your child's future without treatment.
If you would like to know more about impacted canines or other teeth, contact us at Youth Dental and Vision today.