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Guidance for the Clinical Management of Impacted Maxillary Canines

Miguel Hirschhaut, DDS; Nelson Leon, DDS; Howard Gross, DDS, MS; and Carlos Flores-Mir, DDS, DSc

May 2021 Issue - Expires May 31st, 2024

Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry


In this study of orthodontic and surgical management of impacted maxillary canines, the current literature is reviewed and a decision tree is presented to assist clinicians in determining the optimal treatment based on available evidence. Impacted canines have a prevalence of 2% and are more common in females. Palatal impactions are present in around 75% of cases. These trends are observed worldwide with small variations in different populations. Diagnosis through clinical examination and conventional imaging can be complemented with cone-beam computed tomography imaging when necessary. Early intervention by extraction of deciduous canines is indicated when the canine is impacted in sectors 2 or 3 and has an angle of 20 to 30 degrees in relation to the vertical line. Other early management approaches involve rapid palatal expansion or distalization of posterior teeth, when possible. Surgical orthodontic treatment is required when early intervention is unsuccessful. For buccal impactions, the canine position relative to the mucogingival junction determines the choice of surgical procedure; for palatal impactions, the open surgical procedure seems to be preferred. In some situations, however, a closed eruption has precise indications. Use of efficient orthodontic mechanics reduces treatment complications and may be complemented with the use of nitinol piggybacks, swinging gates, modified transpalatal arches, and temporary anchorage devices. Frequent complications with impactions include canine ankylosis, root resorption of the neighboring lateral or central incisor, and gingival esthetic differences between the impacted canine and the contralateral canine upon treatment completion.

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SOURCE: Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry | May 2021

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The author reports no conflicts of interest associated with this work.

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