Cuspid Exposure

Sometimes a cuspid or canine tooth is blocked from pushing into the mouth. This in turn can alter the position of the teeth and affect both function and esthetics. Surgical exposure and orthodontic alignment are generally required.

The cuspids (or canine teeth) are easily visualized as the corner teeth in the front of the mouth. These teeth appear as pointed “fangs” and are referred to as “eye teeth”. Cuspids are the last of the front teeth to surface into the mouth and they do so at or around the age of 12-13. These teeth are naturally positioned between the premolar teeth behind them, and the incisor teeth in front. Notably, the cuspids are the longest teeth in the mouth and they serve the important role of tearing food and guiding the jaws during grinding motions. In doing so, they protect the other teeth.

Impacted Cuspids (Canine Teeth)

Occasionally, the canine teeth become impacted. The term “impacted” essentially means that the teeth are unable to erupt or push through into the mouth because they are blocked from doing so. This usually occurs as a result of inadequate space or a tilted angle of eruption, meaning the canine tooth is misdirected or poorly aligned.

How Do I Know If My Canines Are Impacted?

Many people, including many parents, wonder if their (or their children’s) canine teeth are impacted, and if so, what they should be doing about it.

An impacted canine is typically a silent situation and is not accompanied by any discomfort or altered function whatsoever. Typically, the condition is only identified by a dentist during a routine examination.

Through the combination of a careful examination and standard x-rays, the dentist will observe an abnormality in the alignment of a child’s teeth which will generally lead to a referral for an orthodontic consultation.

Occasionally, a parent may question why one deciduous (baby) canine tooth has not yet fallen out when compared to the opposite side which fell out several months earlier. The parent would then bring their child to the dentist who in turn may identify an impacted canine as the cause.

After thorough evaluation and work up with an orthodontist, a comprehensive treatment plan is established. Sometimes the orthodontist can create space to facilitate the normal eruption of the impacted canine. When this cannot be accomplished, referral to a board certified oral surgeon is required.

At Dolman Oral Surgery, Dr. Robert M. Dolman has exposed hundreds of impacted canines for their orthodontic alignment. Dr. Dolman will work carefully with your orthodontist to optimize your results. Treatment will be accomplished in an unhurried, careful and caring manner. Intravenous sedation is available as indicated.

Typical Treatment Course For Exposing Cuspids

Because this is a childhood condition, it is always facilitated by a parent.

Once the orthodontist has outlined the appropriate plan, he will refer you to Dolman Oral Surgery to meet with Dr. Dolman for a consultation. At the time of the consultation, Dr Dolman will meet with you and your child.

A thorough medical history will be completed and reviewed, combined with a comprehensive examination and any necessary x-rays. Oftentimes, Dr. Dolman will be able to use the x-rays that have already been taken by your child’s orthodontist and/or dentist. Occasionally, and only when absolutely necessary, a 3-D CT scan image may be required to best image the situation. Fortunately, Dolman Oral Surgery is one of the few offices in NYC that has its own I-Cat CT scanner, along with many other state-of-the-art surgical technologies.

Once all information has been gathered, a coordinated surgical plan will be established. Recognizing that this is an imposing experience for a child, Dr. Dolman will spend the time to get to know your child, explain the treatment to them and carefully answer all of their questions, alleviating any concerns that they may have. The nature of the procedure will be carefully reviewed along with any associated risks and benefits. Anesthesia options will be discussed and the use of intravenous sedation will be reviewed as well.

On the day of surgery, an appropriate amount of time will be scheduled to allow for a careful and unhurried approach. Once the surgery is completed, all post-operative instructions will be reviewed and the appropriate follow up will be arranged. Dr. Dolman will make sure that you can easily reach him via phone, email or text message should any questions or concerns arise after surgery.