You have two upper (maxillary) canines and two lower (mandibular) canines. Canine teeth are also referred to as cuspids, fangs, or “eye teeth”. They have the name “eye teeth” because of their direct positioning beneath the eyes. Canine’s often have the longest root of all teeth in the human mouth and the last to fully erupt and fall into place.
When you have an impacted tooth it essentially means that it is blocked or unable to fully erupt and function properly. Canine’s are the second most common tooth to become impacted, wisdom tooth being the first. Impacted canines are critical to the bite and require treatment for the following reasons:
Closing Gaps – Canines are the last of the front teeth to fall into place to close any gaps between the other upper teeth.
First Touch – Canines play a vital role in the “biting” function of the teeth. First touching when your jaw closes guiding your other teeth into position.
Proper Alignment & Function – Canine teeth are essential to the alignment and function of the other teeth on your dental arch. Missing or impacted canines can affect your function and appearance of your smile.
Some of the main causes for impacted canine teeth:
Extra Teeth –Some individuals have extra teeth in their mouth inhibiting the natural eruption of the canine teeth. The canine eruption progress can be blocked by an extra tooth or the overcrowding might leave no room on the dental arch for the canine.
Overcrowding – Poor alignment of the front teeth can lead to overcrowding which means that the canines do not have sufficient room to become functional.
Unusual Growths – On rare occasions, unusual growths on the soft tissue of the gums can restrict the progress of canine teeth, which leads to canine impaction.