Canine Exposure

Upper canine (eye teeth) are the second most commonly impacted teeth. They have long pathway of eruption and are commonly blocked from erupting into the mouth by other teeth.

Referral may be made to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (usually from an orthodontist) for surgical exposure of a canine tooth. Exposure itself may help eruption but more commonly requires orthodontic treatment (braces) to move the tooth into position.

Surgical exposure is more commonly required for upper canines than lower canines.

The surgical exposure involves minor surgery to uncover the canine to allow a bracket to be placed on the tooth. The bracket is attached to a wire which is integrated into the braces. This allows gentle pressure to be applied to the canine by the orthodontist to shift it into position.

The surgery is normally minor and can usually be carried out under local anaesthesia, where the patient is awake. Sedation or general anaesthesia can be carried out as necessary.

Assessment involves clinical examination and x-rays to determine the position of the canine and the type of surgery and anaesthetic required in each case.