Canine Impactions

Topic prepared by Dr. Salwa Almadani …


  • Tooth impaction can be defined as the infraosseous position of the tooth after the expected time of eruption.
  • Anomalous infraosseous position of the canine before the expected time of eruption can be defined as a displacement.
  • Early diagnosis and intervention could save the time, expense, and more complex treatment in the permanent dentition.


According to Thilander and  Ericson and Kurol :

The incidence of impacted maxillary canines is around   2-3% of the general population and mandibular canine impactions in approximately 0.2%.

Ngan P, Bishara the most common impacted tooth:

  • maxillary & mandibular 3rd Molars
  •   maxillary  canine
  •  mandibular  Premolars
  •  mandibular canine

Proffit, Cooke J:

  •  maxillary impaction  occur more commonly in females than males  in the ratio of 2:1

Stivaros and Mandall (2000)*

  •  Impacted canine crown is palatal in 61% of cases
  •  In the line of the arch in 34% of cases
  •  Labial in 4.5% of cases.


Prof.Afify AR,  Prof.Zawawi KH.  (2012)**

The prevalence of  impacted canine was the  second frequent anomaly  (3.3%) after congenitally missing teeth in the western region of Saudi Arabia.


Jacoby’s study found that 85% of palatally displaced canines had sufficient space to erupt, whereas 83% of buccally impacted canines had insufficient space to erupt.

Theories of palatal canine impaction

Two major theories associated with palatally impacted  maxillary canines are:

guidance theory

The distal aspect of the lateral incisor is the guide for canine eruption.

In his study, Becker found that palatally impacted canines were very closely associated with spaced dentitions and lateral incisors that are peg-shaped,  or congenitally absent.

genetic theory:

This theory considers impacted canines are result of    multifactorial inheritance.

They based their theory on the fact that palatally displaced canines are concomitant with other dental anomalies, such as premolar hypodontia and peg laterals.


Diagnosis of impacted canine

Clinical assessment:

Visual inspection:

Clinical signs include Visual inspection of the canine bulge, whether it is buccal  or palatal.


Palpation of the buccal surface of the alveolar process distal to the lateral incisor from 8 years of age may reveal the position of the maxillary canine and has been recommended as a diagnostic tool.

Radiographic assessment:

Several methods

  1. Intraoral techniques (occlusal and periapical projections( SLOB ).
  2. Extraoral techniques (panoramic xray, lateral cephalometric radiographs ,CBCT).
  3. Periapical x-ray  ( SLOB) :  This was 1ST introduced by Clark( 1909)


OPG is a 2-dimensional view and it is a fundamental examination which gives an overview but does not permit precise localization of an impacted canine in three-dimensional space .


Lateral cephalometry :

Lateral cephalometric has overlap as its major disadvantage for evaluation of impacted maxillary canines.


It is 3-dimensional imaging.

CBCT was developed in the 1990s and is the most precise method of radiographic localization, maximizing diagnostic yield and reducing exposure.

The total radiation being approximately 20% of conventional CTs and equivalent to full mouth periapicals.


Surgical and orthodontic management

There are 4 criteria that must be evaluated to aid in selecting the best surgical option:

1- Labio-lingual position of the impacted canine crown.

2- The vertical position of the tooth relative to MGJ.

3- The amount of gingiva in the area of impaction.

4- The mesiodistal position of the canine crown.

For More details .. please download the full presentation from this link .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s