If your child experiences pain in their front teeth every time they bite into food, schedule an appointment with the dentist for an exam. Your child could have impacted canine teeth. Although wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to stay below the gums, canines or cuspids can also hide inside the gums and cause many problems, including mouth pain. Here's what to know about impacted canines and how the dentist treats them.
Why Do Canine Teeth Become Impacted?
Canine teeth are very important to your child's dental health because they have pointy, sharp bite edges that tear and rip into food. When your little one doesn't have canine teeth present in their mouth, they lose the ability to eat properly. In many cases, your child's incisors and bicuspid teeth take over the functions of the missing canines. This is one of the reasons they develop mouth pain.
Most kids get their baby canine teeth between 16 and 20 months of age and lose them between 9-12 years of age. The adult cuspids should erupt some time later. If your child's incisors and bicuspids move or shift into the empty tooth sockets before the canines erupt, they become trapped inside the jawbones or gums.
Trapped cuspids attract bacteria and develop infections. If the infection forms an abscess or pocket of pus at the end of the canines' roots, it displaces or pushes against the gum tissues. Your child feels pain when they bite down on food. Your child can also experience ear and sinus infections from the bacteria trapped inside their impacted teeth.
What Can Your Dentist Do to Treat Your Impacted Teeth?
The dentist offers a number of treatments for your little one's impacted teeth, including oral surgery. The dentist extracts or surgically removes the canines under intravenous sedation or injectable anesthesia. Your child will need to take pain medication after surgery to prevent pain.
After surgery, the dentist may suggest that your child wear orthodontic braces to reposition their teeth and jaws. Since your child's incisors and bicuspids shifted out of their natural positions and into the canines' places in the mouth, your little one's bite is out of balance. Bite describes how your child's teeth and jaws come together when the mouth is closed.
Your child's jawbones may also grow smaller than normal to accommodate the changes in tooth position. Braces gradually create more room in your child's mouth, which also encourages the jaws to grow normally.
If you have questions about impacted canine teeth or your little one's mouth pain, contact a dentist like those at Plaza Family Dentistry.