An impacted tooth is one that fails to erupt and remains covered to varying degrees by the soft tissue and bone. After the wisdom teeth, the most frequently impacted teeth are the maxillary canines. Since the canines play such an important role in the dental arch in terms of optimal function and facial support, it is important whenever possible to bring these teeth into alignment.
In situations involving an impacted canine, an orthodontist will develop an overall treatment plan to correct any underlying malocclusions and to bring the impacted canine into the dental arch. This is typically followed by the placement of orthodontic appliances and the development of space as needed for the impacted tooth. At the appropriate juncture in treatment, the patient will be referred for a surgical procedure to remove the necessary amount of bone and soft tissue covering the canine. During this surgical procedure an orthodontic attachment to facilitate moving the tooth into alignment will be placed on the tooth. Once sufficient healing has taken place, the orthodontist can proceed to gradually move the canine into its proper position.