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What Happens If You Leave an Impacted Canine Tooth?

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Close-up of a young woman with a pained expression holding her jaw on the right side with both hands.

An impacted tooth can be much more than an inconvenience—it can have long-lasting effects on your oral health. Ignoring a condition like this can lead to a wide range of problems that extend beyond the tooth itself.

If left untreated, an impacted tooth can lead to damage to the surrounding teeth, misalignment, gum disease, and even cause the development of cysts in your mouth that can result in bone damage.

It’s important to speak with an oral surgeon if you’re experiencing an impacted canine tooth to receive the appropriate treatment.

What Is an Impacted Canine Tooth?

An impacted canine tooth is a condition where your canine tooth—the slightly-pointed tooth beside the incisor—fails to erupt fully from the gum line. This can lead to it being trapped within the jawbone or gum tissue.

Your canine teeth, or cuspids, are essential for a proper bite and oral alignment. If these teeth become impacted, they can lead to many side effects and damage to your mouth. It’s essential to speak with a dentist if you have an impacted canine, as these side effects can cause long-term damage to the surrounding teeth, gums, and jawbone.

How Can an Impacted Tooth Damage Other Teeth?

The consequences of leaving an impacted canine tooth untreated go far beyond the tooth itself. If a tooth is impacted, it can damage the surrounding teeth due to the nature of the original tooth.

The pressure caused by the unusual angle of the tooth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift, tilt, or be overcrowded, damaging the aesthetic look of your smile and your overall oral health. 

Due to the angle, it can make it difficult to properly clean between the teeth, which can increase the risk of dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease.

Why Does an Impacted Canine Tooth Cause Misalignment?

An impacted canine can lead to significant misalignment issues for the surrounding teeth. These teeth are essential to your dental alignment and contribute greatly to how you bite and chew. If a canine is impacted, it can lead to your natural bite becoming aligned incorrectly and cause long-term damage to the surrounding area.

The teeth beside your canine may begin to shift or tilt as they try to find proper space to sit in your mouth. This can lead to a domino effect or chain reaction as the next teeth in line adjust, creating a wide range of bite problems, misalignment, and dental irregularities.

It can even cause dental crowding, where neighbouring teeth try to accommodate the impacted tooth and shift out of their normal positions. This can lead to overlapping or crooked teeth.

Other Side Effects Caused by an Impacted Canine Tooth

Leaving an impacted canine tooth untreated can have a range of side effects that cause damage to your teeth, gums, and jawbone. These effects can include:

  • The formation of cysts, which are sacs that develop filled with fluid or tissue. These can expand and destroy the surrounding bone and gum tissue. If left unchecked, it can cause infections, pain, swelling, and other forms of discomfort.
  • Damage to the surrounding tooth, including enamel wear, cracks, and root damage.
  • Gum disease, inflammation, or infection. This can lead to redness, swelling, bleeding gums, and the breakdown of your gum tissue.

It’s common to experience chronic discomfort and pain as the impacted tooth puts pressure on the surrounding area. This pain can become significantly worse when biting, chewing, or putting pressure on the impacted tooth. In some situations, this pain can spread to the surrounding areas of the face, jaw, and even your sinuses.

It isn’t just physical pain, though—a damaged tooth can also affect your aesthetic appearance. A visible gap or crooked tooth may make you self-conscious or reluctant to smile. When a tooth starts to cause psychological effects, it’s important to seek professional help to fix it.

Surgeon reviewing dental x-ray with a female patient.

Can an Impacted Canine Tooth Be Fixed?

Fortunately, an impacted canine tooth can be effectively treated with the help of an experienced oral surgeon. The specific treatment will depend on the severity and position of your impacted tooth but often involves either braces, aligners, or corrective surgery to help fix the tooth.If you’re experiencing an impacted canine tooth, seeking help to minimize its effect on your life is essential. At CVOS Oral Surgery, we understand how a damaged tooth can affect your life. Our experienced team of surgeons can recommend solutions to help give you a healthy and happy smile. Schedule an appointment with us today to get the dental help you deserve!

Written by CVOS

Credit Valley Oral Surgery’s first location opened its doors in Mississauga in 1979. Quickly, CVOS Oral Surgery grew a reputation for itself as the place to go for quality oral and maxillofacial surgeries. In 1981, only 2 short years later, CVOS Oral Surgery opened its second clinic in Milton.

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CVOS Oral Surgery is located on the corner of Walkers Line and Dundas Street East in North Burlington at the Headon Forest Shopping Centre.

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