Exposure of Impacted Upper Canine

  • Reference Number: HEY-133/2018
  • Departments: Maxillofacial Department


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your condition.  Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team who has been caring for you.

What is exposure of impacted upper canine?

The canine, or eyetooth, normally comes into the mouth between the ages of 11 and 13. Sometimes one or both canines develop in the wrong position. This can be either across the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth or above your front teeth.

Why do I need treatment?

As part of your ongoing orthodontic treatment it is necessary to help the tooth erupt into the mouth, because one or both of your canines are in the wrong place. If left alone the tooth will not come normally and may either damage the roots of the front teeth or push them out of position.

Can there be any complications or risks?

There are risks associated with general anaesthesia, but this depends on your overall health. Risks vary with each patient. Your anaesthetist will discuss these issues with you, but it is important that you raise any concerns that you may have. Other problems are less common. Some discomfort is inevitable but can usually be controlled with simple pain relief medication. Severe pain is uncommon. Surgical complications may include bleeding, swelling and bruising this maybe to a greater or lesser degree.

How do I prepare for this operation?

Please read the information leaflet. Share the information it contains with your family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support. There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of you following this examination.

You will be given a letter detailing where you should attend, starving instructions and the time to report to the ward. Staff will greet you and show you around the ward. You will be seen by the doctor and possibly the anaesthetist. The type of anaesthetic you will be having is called a general anaesthetic. You will be prescribed pain relief to manage any pain you may suffer following the operation.

What will happen?

This procedure usually takes place under a day case general anaesthetic. Although you will be a sleep when you have the operation, you will be able to go home the same day.

While you are asleep the gum lying over the tooth will be removed or pushed back. Usually some of the bone surrounding the crown of the tooth also needs to be removed. Once the tooth is exposed one of three things may happen under the same anaesthetic. This will have been discussed with you prior to your surgery.

  •  A plate – An impression of the teeth is used to make a plate. This plate covers the roof of your mouth and is clipped on to your teeth. This plate will improve comfort and stop the gum from growing back over the tooth again. This is worn for 10 days and is easily removed.
  • Bracket and chain – A small bracket is glued to the tooth. Attached to this is a chain that your orthodontist can use to pull the tooth into the correct position. The chain is usually stitched out of the way but it is quite delicate and therefore important to be careful when eating for the first few weeks after surgery.
  • A pack – Sometimes a pack made from gauze soaked in antiseptic is stitched in place to keep the gum from covering the tooth again. It is normally removed after a week to ten days. If the pack comes loose you should contact the department.

What happens afterwards?

Before leaving the department to go home you will be given an advice sheet with aftercare instructions. A nurse will go through these instructions with you and your parent or guardian.

Any medications required will also be explained at this time. Follow up appointments will be made. You will be advised to refrain from education or work for between 2- 7 days depending on the individual.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Maxillo-facial Department on (tel no:) 01482 674406

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

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We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

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