An impacted tooth means that it is blocked, or unable to fully erupt and function properly. Impacted teeth most often involve the third molars or wisdom teeth, (see Wisdom Teeth under Procedures) but the maxillary canine teeth, also known as the eyeteeth, are the second most common teeth to become impacted. The canine teeth are critical to the dental arch and play an important role in your mouth.
Canine teeth are critical in the following ways:
- Strength and Function – the canines, with the longest roots of any human teeth, function as very powerful biting teeth.
- “Bite” Alignment – upon closure of the jaw the upper and lower canine teeth are the first to reach contact serving to guide the remaining teeth into proper bite alignment.
- Last to Erupt – normally, the maxillary (upper) canines are the last of the “front” teeth to fully erupt and fall into place, often around age 13, closing unsightly gaps between the other upper teeth. Therefore missing or impacted canines can greatly affect the function and aesthetic appearance of the smile.