Even though they may not be very visible, our rear teeth are still important.
It is only when we laugh out loud that people are likely to see our rear teeth (apart from your dentist, of course!)
Because of this, if we lose one, we may consider it not worthwhile having an artificial replacement and, instead, leaving the space as it is. This may make little cosmetic difference to our smile, but it can have a number of negative effects.
Firstly, our rear teeth are the ones that do a lot of work in breaking down food so that we can swallow and digest it efficiently. Lacking a rear tooth means that this now has to be done by the remaining teeth. This puts additional strain upon these teeth, potentially leading to premature damage.
Front teeth chewing
In cases where a few back teeth have been lost, it is not unknown for patients to switch to chewing with their front teeth, or those nearer the front. Whilst they may opt for softer foods when eating out in order to avoid doing this, they may well do so at home when on their own.
The teeth towards the front of the mouth are not really designed for this purpose, but to bite off and tear food into smaller pieces, ready for the rear teeth to grind it down further. Using these teeth to chew is potentially going to lead to damage, whether the gradual wearing down of the tooth, or even an unexpected breakage.
However invisible a rear tooth is; whilst it remains, it helps the bone structure to remain strong and healthy. Once the tooth has been lost however, the bone will thin and degrade and may cause nearby teeth to start to encroach into the space. This instability can easily spread and before you know it, even your front teeth are changing position, leaving you with uneven looking teeth across your mouth. Whilst this can often be corrected using orthodontic treatment, it is far better to prevent it from happening in the first place.
If you have a missing back tooth, we would recommend that you consider the use of implants to replace it. Our teeth right at the rear of our mouths cannot be replaced using a bridge, which leaves only dentures. These offer some benefits but don’t address the problem of bone degradation and are also not as efficient when it comes to chewing your food.
Dental implants are available at The Lodge Dental Suite and offer an excellent way of replacing a lost back tooth. Once the treatment has been completed and the implant has fully bonded with the bone, you will have a replacement tooth which is strong, stable and will allow you to chew your food with no problems.
Many patients from the Cheshunt, Broxbourne and surrounding areas have had implants placed at our practice and have been delighted with the final result. In addition to the immediate benefits that they offer, they can last for twenty years or more providing that you look after them correctly.
If you would like to know more about dental implants, or would like to arrange an initial consultation with our implant dentist, please call The Lodge Dental Suite on 01992 643388.