Canine Teeth [6,11,22,27]: for Oral Health and Facial Aesthetics

You may have heard a lot about canine teeth, but you don’t exactly know their position in your mouth or their function. So in this very article,

We are going to give details about what the canine teeth meaning is. What is their role? And why are they called canine teeth?

Canine Teeth Definition

Canine teeth, or cuspid or eye teeth, are the four pointy teeth in human beings and in many mammals. These are the most prolonged teeth with one root. They are pointy in shape or we call them pointed canine teeth.

Canine teeth are longer than the others and are interlocked when the mouth is closed. The total number of canine teeth human number is 4, and they are the third tooth from the center for both the upper jaw and the lower jaw to the left and to the right.


The canine teeth are single-root teeth. They have a very crucial role in both humans and mammals: tearing food and chewing it. There are important canine teeth functions that will be discussed later in this article that may be different for both humans and carnivorous animals.

Pronunciation of canine teeth

Canine teeth sound like ”Kay. Nine teeth”. The canine teeth pronunciation is the same for the British and American accents.

The pronunciation of canine tooth is given as a sound in the video below:

canine teeth pronunciation

Where did canine tooth get the name?

The canine tooth got its name due to its pointy and fang-like shape. The word canine if looked upon as a noun, is “member of the dog family”. All the canines belong to the Canidae family, including wolves, jackals, foxes, and coyotes.

The cusp of the canine tooth is strong enough to tear the prey apart in one go.

The Significance of Canine Tooth in Human

The canine tooth human is on either side of the incisor teeth. The canine teeth number is 4 in the human mouth. Two on the upper jaw are called maxillary canines, including tooth 6 and tooth 11, and the two on the lower jaw are called mandibular canines or lower canine teeth which include tooth 22 and tooth 27.

The canine tooth’s human function is to tear food, as they have a pointy shape. Chewing becomes easy with the help of canine teeth.

They also have a pivotal role in talking, as they decide how we speak, especially how we pronounce “s” and “f” words.

As they are the longest teeth in the human mouth, they help balance the upper jaw on the lower jaw when you close your mouth. They are placed on either side of the incisors, so they help shape your mouth. As canines shape your mouth, they contribute to the overall look of your mouth, and even canines are somehow responsible for how you smile. Canines are stronger than incisors and are deeply sunk into the bones.

Canines in Carnivorous Animals

The canine animals are also four in number 2 on both the upper and lower jaws. But the size, grip, and function of canine teeth may vary in different species of carnivorous animals.

The basic function of the canines in carnivorous animals is to kill and tear the prey. The canines of lions and tigers may be exceptionally long and strong to tear down large prey. While the dogs trained for hunting may have different strengths of teeth due to their role, if we talk about domestic dogs, they have canines for display and defense.

Are Canines Really Bones?

Canines, like other teeth in your mouth, are not bones. Though they may look like bones, they are not bones. Bones in your body can regrow, but teeth can’t. Bones consist of tissues, minerals, and cells. The bone structure is composed of nerves, blood vessels, and bone marrow.

But teeth are a structure of dentin covered by enamel.

  • Dentin: A calcified tissue that makes up the majority of a tooth’s structure and offers support and strength. Although it is not as tough as bone, it is still very resilient. 
  • Enamel: The exterior of the tooth crown is covered in enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. It offers a solid biting surface and safeguards the dentin underneath.
Enamel & dentin Infographic

Anatomy and Structure of Canine

The structure of the canines will be discussed in a proper hierarchy from top to bottom:

  • Crown: The crown is the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. In canines, the crown is pointed, resembling a fang.
  • Enamel: The enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth crown. It is the hardest and most mineralized substance in the body. Enamel protects the underlying structures of the tooth.
  • Dentin: Under the enamel, the majority of the tooth’s structure is made up of dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules that house nerve fibers.
  • Pulp: The tooth’s innermost layer, the pulp, is found in the central pulp chamber and the root canals. The pulp provides nutrients to the tooth and contains sensory nerves.
  • Root: The root is the portion of the tooth below the gum line, embedded within the jawbone. The root anchors the tooth in the jaw and provides stability.

An overview of the different parts of the canine tooth, from the entire tooth down to its individual layers and supporting structure, is given by this hierarchical structure.

Canines Eruption Age

There are 2 different ages for the eruption of canines. One for canine teeth baby and the second for canine teeth eruption age for adults.

The charts below will give you a primary and permanent eruption fall out of the caine teeth for both the lower jaw and the upper jaw

Primary Canine Tooth Eruption

TeethEruption AgeFall Out
Upper canines17-23 months10-12 years
Lower canines16-22 months 9-12 years
Baby Canine Tooth Eruption

Permanent canine tooth eruption

TeethEruption Age
Upper canines11-12 years  
Lower canines 9-10 years 
Adult Canine Tooth Eruption

The years and months mentioned above for eruptions and fallout are not exact times for everyone. People tend to erupt their teeth slightly before or after the mentioned time. The reason for the before and after timing can be due to genetic or environmental factors. Regardless of gender, the late or early eruption of canines can be solely a health factor or ethnic difference.

However, if the eruption gets too late, then at the age mentioned above, one must consult the dentist to confirm if the time duration is normal or not or if there is an abnormality.

Canines Extraction: Reasons, Procedure, and Aftercare

Canine tooth extraction human is the surgical process of removing one or more canine teeth. Canine teeth extraction can be necessary for several canines human problems, a few of which will be discussed below:

  • Reason 1: If canines are infected or decaying, you can go for a delta restoration treatment. But most of the time, restoration for the canines won’t work, so you need to get your canines extracted to avoid the spread of the infection to the other adjacent teeth or the entire corresponding jaw.
  • Reason 2: Injury is another important reason for canine tooth extraction. If canines are severely injured and restoration of the teeth is not possible with dental treatment, they are extracted.
  • Reason 3: Supernumerary teeth are more teeth than the regular number of teeth in your mouth. They need to be extracted to create a proper space and alignment for your normal teeth. The supernumerary teeth are not canines but are different from the normal four types of teeth. The supernumerary teeth are also of 4 different types 
  1. Supplemental
  2. Conical
  3. Tuberculate
  4. Odontoma-Associated


A dentist or oral surgeon typically removes a canine tooth. The procedure begins with the administration of local anesthesia to numb the area, then the creation of an incision in the gum tissue (if necessary), the extraction of the tooth, and finally the application of sutures (if necessary) to the incision.


Aftercare after the removal of canines is very important for healing properly and on time. Aftercare involves everything from general care to proper medication in order to get proper and perfect canine teeth.

  • You should be biting your food very softly, and rinsing and spitting should be minimized in order to avoid any kind of bleeding. 
  • You should take painkillers or prescribed medicine to get rid of pain, or you can use an ice pack outside of your mouth to reduce pain.
  • Brush your canines with soft bristles and avoid the canine tooth extraction area for the first day. Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • You have a proper diet. Use liquid food initially, or at least soft food. Avoid eating spicy, hot, or hard food. Don’t use straws for liquid food or drinks, as the suction can cause blood clot displacement.
  • Just follow the appointments with the doctor to get the proper medication and treatment procedures.
  • You should not participate in any kind of physical activity in the first few days of treatment to avoid bleeding and discomfort.

How much does Canines Extraction Cost?

The canines extraction can cost $75 to $300 or even more per tooth. The cost can vary depending on the complexity of the tooth extraction, or it depends on if the dentist or oral surgeon is doing the extraction procedure.

It may happen that your insurance is not fully covering the cost of your canine teeth extraction treatment. So you have to pay a percentage of the total canines extraction treatment cost. We recommend that whenever you are going for any treatment, you first call your insurance provider to confirm how much the specific treatment is insurance going to cover and how much you have to pay to avoid any problems later.

Canines Straightening using Braces

The main function of the braces is to straighten and align the teeth and improve their appearance for a pleasant mouth look. Unaligned teeth can also cause chewing and digestion problems, along with slowing down the speed of eating. Unaligned teeth can also give a bad aesthetic look to your mouth. The braces apply continuous pressure to the canines to force them to their desired location.

Braces for canines

After the removal of teeth, canines braces can or can’t be used for canine teeth straightening and alignment, depending on the specific treatment circumstances.

It is not required for everyone to have braces after the canine tooth extraction. The application of braces depends on factors like bite issues, overall canine tooth alignment, and the aesthetic (appealing or beautiful) condition of the mouth.

Using Braces for canine teeth infographic

Duration for wearing Braces

Talking about how long canines braces are kept for any person going under alignment treatment or extraction treatment. The answer to this question is that there is no specific time for keeping braces. The time can vary between different patients depending on the severity of the treatment. 

  • The severity of misalignment: mild or significant misalignments need braces accordingly.
  • Each person’s response: Each individual tooth responds differently. For some, they move faster than others.

Even the duration mentioned by the orthodontist can vary for people. So regular or planned appointments during the treatment are very important and should be taken seriously and need to be followed.

How do braces work for missing canines?

If a person has missing canines, braces can be used to close the spaces left by the missing canines. The braces help adjust the adjacent teeth in the proper position to fill the gap of the missing teeth and to make a balanced jaw with a pleasing mouth look.

Procedures for missing canines

  1. The orthodontist can use brackets, wires, and other appliances to fill the gap for missing canines.
  2. A treatment option for missing canines is dental implants. The tooth root replacement component of the implant is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. An artificial tooth (crown) is attached to the implant after the healing process is complete, giving it the appearance and functionality of a natural tooth.
  3. Artificial teeth that bridge the space left by missing teeth include pontics when fixing dental bridges. They are attached to the dental crowns on either side of the missing teeth to fill the gap and give the teeth a proper look. Like dental crowns, pontics can also be made from porcelain or ceramic material.
  4. A removable partial denture can also be used in place of the missing teeth. It can be removed from the gum to be maintained and cleaned.

When and How Canines Decay?

Decay of canines, or dental caries is a process where the structure of the canines becomes worse.  Canine teeth decay starts when the bacteria start producing acid to weaken the enamel of the canines. The bacteria is the plague stick surface that coats your canine teeth and starts weakening them. The Sugar and carbohydrates feed the bacteria on your teeth. The bacteria then start producing the acids that attack the enamel.

following are the decay stages:

  • Plague or spot
  • Decay in Enamel
  • Deacy in Dentin
  • Decay in Pulp
Types of tooth decay canine infographic

Factors for canines decay

  • Your oral hygiene can be the cause of canine tooth decay. Not brushing or flossing your teeth can cause the plague to stick to your teeth.
  • The consumption of sugar, drinks, and acidic food can cause bacteria to flourish as this is the feed for them.
  • If your mouth remains dry and saliva is not properly functioning which actually works as a natural cleanser, can cause canine decay in humans.

Procedures or treatments to prevent canine tooth decay

The canine tooth decay treatment includes many of the steps that you must follow if you are becoming a victim of canine tooth decay or any other tooth decay. The steps are mentioned below:

  • Work on the oral hygiene of your mouth, and regularly brush your teeth two times a day.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Avoid acidic and sugary food.
  • Do dental follow-ups if you feel any irregularity in your teeth.
  • Go for dental treatments like filling, dental crowns, or root canals.
  • If your canines are decaying and you start feeling that they will be affecting the adjacent teeth, go for canine extraction to avoid more damage to your jaw.

Dental Cyst a Real Problem

The dental cyst between the maxillary (upper Jaw) root lateral incisor and adjacent canines is called a globular maxillary cyst. It is also known as a nasolabial cyst or a nasolabial duct cyst. This cyst occurs where the gun meets the upper lip in between the canine and the incisor.

These cysts are usually painless and grow slowly. Mostly recognized during dental checkups. The cyst can cause tooth displacements or swelling in the jaw.

The dental cyst can be removed by surgery. If you feel any unusual swelling in the upper jaw between incisors or canines you go and consult your dentist.