After losing a back tooth, patients may be tempted to just go on about their lives and not replace the tooth. The tooth may not be in a highly visible location, so there is less motivation to pursue restoration because the smile’s appearance is not affected. However, your molars perform a number of different functions in your smile, so there’s value in replacing ones that are missing.
First of all, the molars have large chewing surfaces that are necessary for processing more fibrous foods, like nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. Without those teeth, it can be more difficult to chew a varied diet.
Additionally, those molars help to stabilize the jawbone. When a tooth is lost, the jaw atrophies over time. This process is accelerated in the vicinity of the molars on the upper jaw because the bone in that area is under the sinus cavity, so it is thinner. Therefore, it erodes more quickly, and bone loss can be significant. The nearby teeth can be at risk and your facial appearance may become sunken.
The type of tooth replacement you choose matters as well. To preserve the functionality of the molars, patients should consider the only structurally complete option – dental implants. The titanium cylinders inserted into the patient’s jaw by the oral surgeon replace the absent root, and the prosthetic crown stands in for the visible portion of the patient’s tooth.
A conventional appliance, such as a dental bridge or parital denture, lacks a rootlike structure and does not restore the missing tooth’s full functionality.
In order to benefit from dental implants, patients should act quickly to get this treatment before the jaw begins to atrophy. Dental implant stability and performance relies on the availability of quality bone material for osseointegration, so bone loss may present an obstacle to a patient’s efforts to get dental implants.
If you lose a back tooth, don’t assume you’ll be fine without it. Schedule a consultation with our team at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to learn about dental implants and how they might benefit you.