I’m am a teenager and still have two of my baby teeth. They are the two canines on my top arch. At an appointment last year, the dentist discovered my two baby canines on the bottom. So, they were removed. I found myself hiding my smile a lot. It turns out that my permanent canine was tucked in behind my baby canine. It was in a relatively correct spot so hopefully that one comes in OK. The other canine on the left, bottom was removed and the permanent tooth is growing behind it, but pretty far from the correct spot. It is closer to my lateral incisor.
I’m pretty embarrassed by my wonky teeth. I hate the gap in my smile. I currently still have my baby canine teeth on top, but the dentist is planning to remove them too. Then, I’ll have more gaps. I am mortified that my senior picture appointment is coming up. I’m nervous that my permanent bottom canines will grow too far behind too. How do I know if I am a dental implants candidate? Will that work for a situation like this?
-Leslie in Kansas
Thank you for reaching out. The situation you are describing with your canines is not that uncommon. So, I’m wondering if you haven’t been keeping up with regular dental care. An experienced dentist would have discovered your baby teeth in routine exams and been able to monitor them to avoid the situation you now find yourself in. Most dentists are taught about how to address this kind of thing in dental school. That is why I’m wondering if you haven’t been in for routine exams. The most important component for your case is for the dentist to obtain good x-rays of your jaw. This will provide a lot of the information needed to diagnose what is going on correctly.
The most common reason for an individual to still have baby canine teeth as a teenager is likely due to the fact that your permanent canines are impacted in your jaw. So, in order to properly care for your baby canine teeth, the dentist needs to understand what is going on with your permanent teeth. An x-ray will reveal where they are located and if they are impacted. In some cases they will not be in the proper position at all. They may also be located underneath your other permanent teeth. Or they may even be in front of them. If they are impacted, an orthodontist can assist in helping them erupt.
If you haven’t been to the dentist on a regular basis, it is possible that you may not be aware that in some cases permanent teeth may never form. However, it is pretty rare for canine teeth not to form. If you are a teenager and still don’t have those permanent canine teeth, it may be due to the fact that the eruption of those teeth is blocked. The treatment is typically to have a straightforward surgical procedure. By opening up the tissue and exposing the underlying tooth, a bracket can be used to help it move the underlying tooth into position using braces. In some cases, braces aren’t required and they are able to erupt on their own after the surgery.
If there isn’t enough room for the canine teeth to move in correctly, typically a patient is referred to an orthodontist to evaluate what the best next steps are. Since I haven’t seen your case in person, it is difficult to give you specific recommendations. But, hopefully this will help you better understand what is happening with your baby teeth.
It is understandable that you may feel embarrassed since the canine teeth show when you smile. Most times, the premolar is removed to make space for the canine to come in. Then, the surrounding teeth can be straightened.
Regarding your question about being a dental implant candidate, unfortunately it doesn’t sound like this is the right treatment for your case. If your canine teeth are indeed impacted, the dental implants will impede on the underlying teeth. This is because the dental implant post is surgically implanted into your jaw. So, dental implants would only work in cases where there are no underlying teeth that haven’t erupted. They are an excellent solution for missing teeth.
Hopefully this information is helpful. It sounds like the best course of action at this point is to ask for consultation with an orthodontist. They are likely the best suited to help you get the answers you need and to explain the best options to reposition or help your permanent canine teeth to erupt.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.