The canine or eye tooth normally erupts into the mouth between 11 and 13 years of age. In two in two in a hundred children the canines erupts in the wrong position. One or both canines may be affected. They lie across the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth. They are unable to erupt properly into the mouth and are referred to as impacted canines. This is usually picked up by the dentist who will probably refer you to an orthodontist for an opinion. The orthodontist will then decide on the best form of treatment.
If the canine is left in the incorrect position, it will not erupt normally and may damage the roots of the surrounding teeth or push them out of position.
It is therefore necessary to help the tooth erupt into the mouth.
This involves a small surgical procedure (called exposure of the canine) carried out under a short general anaesthetic.
A small cut is made in the gum overlying the canine. This gum is then pushed back off the bone to expose the bone. This exposed bone, which surrounds the canine tooth, is then removed. The canine is then exposed.
A small bracket, which has a small gold chain attached, is glued to the tooth. The chain is usually stitched out of the way with dissolvable stitches. The pushed back gum is then stitched back with dissolvable stitches.
The orthodontist then uses the chain to pull the tooth into the right position.
Patients may go home a few hours after surgery.
Pain and swelling of varying degree is normal, however the pain is usually alleviated with simple analgesia (Paracetamol).
As in all surgery it is essential to see a surgeon who will be able to tell you whether your problem can be remedied by surgery, and what the risks are. Thereafter you will be in a position to decide whether you should go ahead or not.