Radiographic examination of ectopically erupting maxillary canines

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1987 Jun;91(6):483-92. doi: 10.1016/0889-5406(87)90005-9.


This study analyzes the need for and possibility of obtaining further information from different radiographic procedures in 125 children with potential ectopic eruption of the maxillary canines. After clinical examination of 3,000 10 to 15-year-old children, it was found that 7% needed radiographic examinations for determination of the canine position. Eighty-four children (2.8%), with a total of 125 potential ectopically erupting maxillary canines diagnosed clinically and by means of periapical radiographs, were selected and a stepwise extended radiographic diagnostic procedure was used. Most canines in ectopic eruption were positioned palatally; the positions could be assessed with sufficient accuracy from conventional periapical films in 92% of the cases. Only in 37% of the cases, however, could the lateral incisor be projected free from the ectopic canine by the intraoral technique. The lamina dura of the lateral incisor facing the canine was often found to be interrupted. For 29% of the ectopic canines, the lateral incisors could neither be projected free nor judged free from resorptions and a supplementary polytomographic investigation was believed to be necessary. The number of resorbed teeth was doubled by polytomography and altogether 12.5% of the ectopic canines caused resorptions. A stepwise radiographic procedure including polytomography is described and recommended in cases of ectopic eruption of maxillary canines for determining the correct position and ruling out or confirming resorptions on incisors, thereby optimizing the orthodontic treatment planning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alveolar Process / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Cuspid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Incisor / diagnostic imaging
  • Maxilla
  • Methods
  • Radiography, Panoramic
  • Root Resorption / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray
  • Tooth Eruption, Ectopic / complications
  • Tooth Eruption, Ectopic / diagnostic imaging*