Impacted Canines

Repairing and saving your natural tooth are always the top priorities, but when that's not possible, extracting the damaged or decaying tooth can be the only alternative.

Oral Surgery Hawaii in Honolulu, Aiea, and Kaneohe, HI, offers exposure treatments for impacted canines. When a tooth does not fully emerge from the gums, it is said to be impacted. The canine teeth have very long roots, and much like wisdom teeth, they have a tendency to become impacted.

When wisdom teeth are impacted, they are simply removed to prevent problems such as infections or oral pain, but canines are crucial to the development of your overall bite. Because canines are so important for tearing food and guiding the alignment of your other teeth, oral surgeons use the exposure and bonding treatment to save the canines when they get stuck beneath the gum tissue.


When the canines develop around age 11 or 12, sometimes there are teeth or unusual structures blocking the normal growth track of the secondary (adult) teeth. Below are a few of the reasons canines can become trapped behind the gums:

  • Baby teeth not coming out in time
  • The presence of extra teeth
  • Unusual growths blocking the path of the teeth
  • Overcrowding of the teeth surrounding the canines

If the canines are not able to break through the gums before the roots finish developing, it can be difficult for them to grow in normally. Sometimes, if impacted canines are caught too late in development, they cannot erupt at all. Having regular dental exams throughout childhood and adolescence is the best way to ensure your canines stay on track.


If the impacted canines are caught early enough, an orthodontist may be able to use braces to make space for the teeth to grow in on their own. When canines still won’t erupt, even after orthodontic treatments, an oral surgeon may be called in to help.

Oral surgeons often work with orthodontists to treat impacted canines. If the canines are not fully developed yet, simply extracting any baby teeth blocking the path or exposing the secondary teeth beneath the gums may be enough to help the canines come out on their own. If the roots of the canines are almost done developing, your surgeon and orthodontist may recommend exposure and bonding, which helps the canines move into place faster.

Exposure and bonding treatments are a combination of orthodontic work and oral surgery. First, your orthodontist will clear the path for your canines using braces. Then, your oral surgeon will perform a procedure that exposes the canines from beneath the gums. The surgeon will usually attach a small bracket to your newly exposed tooth, and a tiny chain will be attached to this bracket. Later, your orthodontist will use this chain with your other braces to gently pull your canines into their proper positions in the dental arch. Once the process is complete, your braces can be removed.

If the canines have been left in the gums too long, and there is no chance of them coming out, your oral surgeon can extract the impacted teeth and replace them using dental implants. Dental implants look and feel just like natural teeth, so you will not have to worry about any movement while you eat or smile. In fact, many patients forget that they have dental implants after the treatment process is over.


Oral Surgery Hawaii has three convenient offices in Honolulu, Aiea, and Kaneohe, HI. If you or your child needs to have canine teeth exposed, feel free to schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons. Our surgeons treat patients of all ages, and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

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