Sometimes referred to as eye teeth, or maxillary cuspids, the canine teeth are the second most common tooth to have problems with being impacted, following the wisdom teeth. Though, unlike the wisdom teeth, the canine teeth play a significant role in the patient’s bite and overall dental arch. These teeth are biologically designed to be the first teeth to come in contact when the patient closes their mouth, guiding the neighboring teeth into position, allowing for a proper bite. Impacted canines can be problematic, and should be dealt with earlier than later. At Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we can take steps to assist the canine tooth to come into position and help your bite.

On average, your family dentist will want to see the canine, or eye teeth move into position around the age of 13 or in early adolescence. These teeth help close any gaps between the front teeth. Increasingly, orthodontists are requesting to see children by the age of seven, when they can make predictions of tooth movement and assist in guiding teeth into correct positioning. If the canine teeth are impacted due to being poorly positioned, your dentist will want to make every effort to remedy the teeth going into proper position. This may include braces, and in some situations, extraction of neighboring teeth, which is done by an oral surgeon such as Dr. Robert G. Hale or Dr. James P. Jensvold. In most cases, our office works in tandem with an orthodontist in creating a treatment plan for the patient.


In some situations space is available, but the tooth is not erupting. Following the examination, we may determine that the best course of action is to surgically expose the tooth. Exposure of canine, or eye, teeth is a simple surgical procedure performed in our office at Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. The gum tissue over the impacted tooth is surgically lifted exposing the tooth underneath. During this procedure, if the primary tooth is still present, it will be removed. The final step in this procedure is the placement of a bracket which the orthodontist can then place a wire included in the treatment of braces. On average, the patient should continue the treatment plan with their orthodontist within the first two weeks following the exposure of the tooth surgical procedure. The orthodontist will continue the steps toward guiding the eye tooth into position.

Deciding to ignore an impacted canine can become more problematic as the patient ages. Patients over the age of 40 have a much higher chance that the tooth has become fused in position, meaning it can no longer be shifted. The only option at that point is the extraction of the impacted tooth to reduce the likelihood of decay and infection.

If you have questions concerning impacted teeth, the positioning of your teeth, or improving your bite, contact Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at our Woodland Hills location. Our staff is happy to answer your questions and assist you with scheduling an appointment. (818) 999-0900