Most individuals are embarrassed by a missing tooth in the front of their mouths. You can argue that it’s not fair, but a gaping hole in a smile has negative connotations for adults in most social circles. (And a jack-o-lantern smile doesn’t look as cute as it did when you were five.)
A person who loses a front tooth usually makes a plan for a dental restoration ASAP. And few dental patients forego a temporary denture while awaiting a permanent restoration.
When a man or woman loses a back tooth, on the other hand, they are more likely to leave the gap. “You can’t really see it when I smile, right?” “I have another molar back there, I can chew with that one.” If the tooth had been hurting, sometimes they are so relieved that the pain is gone, they consider the extraction the final answer.
This attitude is unfortunate. The goal of this post is to dispel the myth that a missing back tooth has no consequences.
Since we can’t see the bone that anchors our tooth roots, we don’t commonly consider its condition. The health of our jawbone plays an essential role in overall oral health. When a tooth is extracted, the bone at the extraction site shrinks and recedes over time. Since a dental implant replaces the tooth root (as well as the visible part), it maintains the health of the bone. In so doing, it also protects the bone for the adjacent teeth.
The jawbone is the foundation of the lower face. If it shrinks and recedes, everything that sits on top of it will follow suit. A person with the bone recession will eventually get that “sunken in” look that can make them look a lot older than they really are. A permanent dental implant, unlike a dental bridge, retains the foundation of the face.
Another vulnerability is shifting teeth. If teeth adjacent to the extraction site start moving, it can create a domino effect. The unopposed tooth on the opposite arch can also move, though it typically moves outward from the bone (over-eruption).
In addition to esthetic implications, teeth that are displaced in danger of periodontal disease, decay, TMJ pain, or bite issues. There will also be increased stress on the teeth that take over the chewing functions—compromising their strength as well.
A Smart Investment In Oral Health (And You’ll Look Better, Too!)
Investing in a permanent tooth implant could be far less pricey than treating the dental problems mentioned previously. If you have a missing posterior tooth and want to learn about dental implant procedures, call Almeida & Bell Aesthetic Dental Center at 303-858-9000 to set up an appointment. Our friendly staff and comfortable facility put our patients at ease.
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