Human Canine Teeth

What are Human canines?

Human canine teeth resemble a dog’s fangs, hence their name. They are pointier than other teeth. Most people have four canines, one in each quadrant (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left). Canine teeth help tear into foods like meat and crunchy vegetables. People sometimes call them “eye teeth” due to their position directly under the eyes.

What are impacted canines?

These human canine teeth can become impacted, meaning they do not grow into the mouth but stay buried in the jawbone under the gum. Canine teeth in the top jaw are more commonly impacted in the roof of the mouth (palate). The “baby” canine tooth is often still in place.

Why do canines become impacted?

No one knows why these teeth may become impacted. Up to 3% of the general population will have an impacted canine, and 85% of these are under the gum in the roof of the mouth.

Why are the canines important?

They help to provide a pleasing, balanced, and symmetrical smile.

What are the treatment options?

You have several options. The suitable one depends on where your canine tooth is buried, your age, whether you want a fixed brace, the space for the canine tooth, and the treatment duration.

Option 1: No treatment

  • Leave the buried canine where it is if it is not causing any problems.
  • The buried tooth may be x-rayed occasionally by your dentist to check that it is not causing problems.

What problems can occur?

  • There is a small risk that the buried tooth could damage the roots of the front teeth, or a cyst may develop around the buried canine. The tooth will then usually be removed.
  • The canine may start to appear when you are older, and you may seek advice from a dentist then.

What happens to the baby canine tooth?

  • If the baby tooth is still present, it will be kept, but it may not last a lifetime.
  • If the baby tooth is lost when you are an adult, you will be left with a gap that your dentist may be able to fill with a denture, bridge, or implant.
  • Your dentist can advise you on the possible options.

Option 2: An operation to uncover the buried tooth and bring it into the correct position in the mouth

  • A small “window” of gum and bone is removed over the buried tooth to help it grow into the mouth.
  • Sometimes a gold chain or brace attachment is fixed to the tooth either at the time of the operation or later on in the treatment.
  • Fixed braces are used to bring the canine tooth into the correct position.
  • You may need to have other teeth removed to create enough space for the canine.

What will the operation involve?

  • The operation will involve a general or local anaesthetic.
  • After the operation, you will have stitches and possibly something (a ‘dressing’) to cover the canine.
  • You will be advised on how to keep the area clean with mouthwashes and tooth brushing and what simple painkillers to take.

How long will I need to wear a fixed brace?

Moving an impacted canine can be a very slow process. It can often take more than 2 years for
the treatment to be completed. You will need regular appointments during treatment for the fixed brace to be adjusted.

Will I feel the tooth being pulled down?

It is likely to be sore for about 3-5 days each time the brace is adjusted. If necessary, simple painkillers such as those you would normally take for a headache should help – please follow the instructions on the packet.

Will the treatment work?

Usually. However, in rare cases, the buried tooth is fused to the bone and will not move. If this happens, the tooth may need to be removed, and you may require further dental treatment.

Option 3: An operation to remove the buried tooth completely This option may be suitable if:

  • You do not want to wear a fixed brace.
  • The rest of your teeth are straight with no gaps.
  • The buried tooth is in a poor position.
  • The buried tooth is causing problems.

You may require further dental or orthodontic treatment in the future if this leaves you with a baby canine tooth or a gap.

Option 4: An operation to “transplant” the buried tooth to its proper position

This option is not often chosen and can only be considered in certain cases. There needs to be enough space between the teeth. It has a lower success rate than the other options. However, if this option is suitable for you, your dentist will explain what is involved in more detail.

Human canine teeth frequently asked questions

Do all humans have canine teeth?

Yes, all humans typically have canine teeth. Each person usually has four canine teeth: two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. These teeth are pointed and are located between the incisors and premolars. They play a key role in biting and tearing food.

How many canine teeth do humans have?

Humans typically have four canine teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. These pointed teeth are located between the incisors and premolars and are essential for tearing food.

Why do humans have canine teeth?

Humans have canine teeth primarily for tearing and holding food. These teeth are pointed and robust, aiding in the initial breaking down of food during chewing. Additionally, canine teeth play a role in maintaining the alignment of the rest of the teeth, guiding them into proper occlusion (contact) with each other. Their position and shape also contribute to the overall structure and appearance of the dental arch and smile.

Book Appointment

Smilepoint Dental provides professional, meticulous care, in-house specialists, and assistance with insurance claims for expats. Book an appointment with us today!
Book Now

Learn more: Wikipedia(Human Tooth) | Quora