What to Know & Do When Your Child’s Partially Impacted Canine Tooth Emerges

If your child's upper adult eye tooth partially emerges out of the gums, you may wonder if it'll cause your child problems in the future. Although wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted in the gums, canines (also known as eye teeth and cuspids), can also become stuck. The teeth may partially erupt or not at all. Sometimes, stuck canines emerge on their own without very little issues. But some impacted eye teeth may need a little help from the dentist to erupt properly. Here's why your child's eye tooth is impacted and what you can do to help them feel better.

Why Do Canines Impact in the Gums?

Upper canine teeth usually erupt somewhere between 11 or 12 years of age. Your child needs eye teeth to help cut, hold, slice, and tear food properly. The teeth also help provide stability for your child's jawbones and bite, or how they're teeth come together when they close their mouth, smile and chew food. If canines don't emerge at the right time or in the correct positions, they become stuck in the jawbone or in the gum tissue.

Although impacted eye teeth aren't as common as impacted wisdom teeth, they can experience a number of issues that keep them from emerging. One of the issues is crowding. Crowding describes teeth that don't have enough room to emerge from the jawbones. Your loved one's jawbone may be too small to accommodate a full row of adult teeth, or the tooth may be too large for their mouth. 

Sometimes, canines don't emerge right because of how they're positioned in the bone. Your child's tooth may be positioned horizontally or sideways, or it may be pressed against the root of another tooth. The canine can't push out or absorb the baby's tooth root because of its incorrect position. The baby tooth may take longer to loosen up and fall out as a result.

A stuck canine may present problems for your child in the future if it causes a misalignment or malocclusion in their jaws. Misaligned teeth can overlap, turn sideways or stick out. The teeth may also cause issues with their ability to chew food.

What Can You Do to Help Your Child?

If the canine pokes through your child's gums, it may be the only way it can erupt. This may cause some discomfort in your child's mouth as the tooth attempts to force its way out. The best thing you can do for your loved one is take them to a dentist for care.

A dentist may do a number of things to make your child feel more comfortable, including monitoring and observing the tooth to see if it straightens out and emerges on its own. Your child may need to take X-rays during this portion of the treatment. If the tooth doesn't show signs of changing after a designated time, a dentist may make a slight incision in the gums over the gums to help it erupt.

If the tooth doesn't emerge all the way or at all, a provider may suggest placing a small appliance on the tooth to assist it in the eruption. The appliance is a small bracket that gradually allows the tooth to move into the right position as it emerges. The last resort is extracting the tooth, which creates room or space in your child's upper jawbone. A dentist may place orthodontic braces on your child's teeth to reposition them as they develop.

If you would like to speak to a dentist about your loved one's partially impacted eye tooth, make your appointment today.