For many people, the loss of a natural tooth is considered far more devastating when it affects one of the teeth that are visible when a person smiles, such as the front teeth or the incisors. The appearance of a visible, prominent gap in one’s smile can be devastating to one’s self-esteem. For that reason, it’s often considered somewhat less important to replace a lost back molar, as these less visible teeth don’t have a starring role in one’s smile. However, back molars are still crucial for proper oral function and health, and missing molars should be replaced. Here’s why.
Back molars preserve jawbone density
Every time you bite into food and chew it, the force exerted on your teeth stimulates the bone underneath your teeth. This stimulation is instrumental in triggering the jawbone to produce new bone mass. Throughout a person’s lifetime, bone mass is continually broken down and new bone mass is produced. If you lack one or more back molars, the jawbone won’t have enough stimulation from chewing and it will produce insufficient new bone mass to replace the bone that is naturally broken down.
Back molars prevent dental drift
As the underlying structures, including the jawbone, begin to break down following the loss of a natural tooth, the remaining teeth will start to be adversely affected. Since they won’t have the support of the missing back molar, the teeth nearby will start to shift or drift out of place. This results in malocclusion, or a crooked smile.
Back molars support facial symmetry
If you still need an aesthetic-related reason to replace your back molar, consider this: Your facial symmetry relies on having all of your teeth. Even if molars aren’t visible when you smile, they definitely play a major role in preserving your appearance.
Dental implants are a top choice among dentists and oral surgeons
One option for replacing a missing back molar or two is to get custom-made dentures. While dentures tend to be more affordable than implants, they do have disadvantages. Since dentures rest above the gum line, they cannot stimulate the jawbone to preserve its density.
Another choice that’s typically recommended by dentists and oral surgeons is to get dental implants. A dental implant is anchored within the jawbone itself, which mimics the structure of a natural tooth root. It’s capped by an abutment and a porcelain crown. The crown is the white part that looks and functions exactly like a natural tooth.
A dental implant will perform all the same functions as a natural molar would, so you won’t have to worry about complications like jawbone density loss or dental drift.
We’re pleased to serve patients out of our dental offices in Feasterville and Newtown. Give us a call today to set up a consultation with a dental implant surgeon.
Additional resources on dental implants:
- American Academy of Implant Dentistry, What are dental implants? https://www.aaid-implant.org/dental-implants/what-are-dental-implants/
- Colgate, What Are Dental Implants? https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/implants/what-are-dental-implants