When you look at your smile in the mirror, do you ever notice receding gum lines? There’s a good chance that, if you have, you’ve noticed it over your top two canine teeth.
Sometimes referred to as “gingival recession,” this oral health issue is most commonly seen along the maxillary cuspids. Also known as maxillary canines, these teeth are located on the outside of your top incisors. (The next time you do look at your smile, these are the teeth that flank the outside of your top four.)
Both the maxillary and mandibular canines are called the “cornerstone” of the mouth since they are all located exactly three teeth away from the midline, and also separate the premolars from the incisors. This location in the mouth also makes them more susceptible to gum recession, however, due to over aggressive brushing or poor adherence to an oral health regimen.
What are the most common dental problems with canines?
Many patients visit us in our Carrollton office due to concerns with their canines (and the gum line over them). Take a look at yours. Do they appear to have a yellow tint? Or are they suffering from a slightly receded gum line? Or, perhaps most seriously, are they the most perceptibly crooked teeth in your mouth?
Straight white smiles are not just important for vanity purposes. In fact, teeth that are crooked can lead to other issues such as periodontal disease. It can be hard to clean in between crooked teeth, for one. This can result in tooth decay and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to periodontitis, a more serious infection that can damage bones and teeth. In addition, it can cause excessive wear and tear on the teeth, gums, and jaw muscles, resulting in cracked teeth, jaw strain, and temporomandibular joint disorder (say that five times fast).
If you think any problem with your canines are causing discomfort or other challenges in your oral care, then give Josey Lane Dentistry a call today.
How important are the canines?
Perhaps we have you concerned about the purpose of canines, now, especially in the face of significant or long-lasting issues. The truth of the matter is that canines really are vitally important. The location of the canines in your mouth reflects their dual function, as they complement both the premolars and incisors while eating.
The canines are also the longest teeth in the mouth if you measure from root to tip. As you can guess, their most important function to tear into food. You need look no further than to other large mammals like saber-tooth tigers, hippopotamuses and dogs to see that canines are prevalent throughout the animal kingdom.
Another common canine problem is impacted canines. An impacted tooth is one that gets “stuck” when it tries to grow out of the gums, therefore failing to erupt into its appropriate position. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a screening x-ray, along with a dental examination, be performed on all dental patients at around the age of seven to count the teeth and determine if there are problems with eruption of the adult teeth.
Treating impacted canines becomes more difficult the older the patient gets. If you or your child are faced with this problem, many times it can be corrected easily with braces. Only in rare cases will oral surgery be needed to help the teeth descend.
Your Carrollton dentists’ tips to care for your canines
Cleaning your canines twice a day—just like all your teeth—is incredibly important. Remember that the American Dental Association has long advocated for how home oral care is the most important contributor to oral health, and can help lessen the need for extensive dental intervention in the future.
And while some people still view flossing as an unnecessary step in the daily routine, the truth is that canines, particularly those that have not descended all the way, can get food easily trapped between your teeth.
And, as always, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly for preventative services and treatment of oral health issues. Canines are a vital component to your mouth and oral health and must be properly maintained to ensure you can continue to tear down tough meats! If you are concerned about the state of your canines, give our Carrollton office a call today.