If you’re missing a tooth (or a few), you’re far from alone. According to Harvard Health, the average American loses 12 permanent teeth to decay, injury, or gum disease by age 50.
Most people don’t hesitate to replace front teeth, but what about back teeth? It’s common for adults to lose back molars, but replacing them is important to avoid permanent damage to your entire mouth. Here’s everything you need to know about replacement solutions to restore your smile.
Many people who lose back teeth put off replacing them because they’re not visible. However, the space left by missing teeth can negatively affect your nutrition, surrounding teeth, and jawbone structure. Some consequences of not replacing missing teeth include:
- Dental drift: When you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth start shifting—or they could erupt. When teeth start shifting, it’s called dental drift. Supereruption happens when teeth shift too far above the gumline. So instead of just the crown, part of the roots may start to show.
- Tooth loss and decay: Tooth roots help keep your jawbone and gums healthy. Without roots, you may experience further loss.
- Jawbone density loss: After tooth loss, jawbone density can affect your health. Over time, jawbone changes can change the shape of your face, making it harder to speak and chew food.
- Gum tissue volume loss: Tooth loss can also lead to the loss of gum tissue volume. After losing a tooth, you lose the root structures that support your gums. As a result, the soft tissue breaks down, leading to changes in your smile.
Replacing a missing tooth is about much more than just improving your smile—it’s about protecting your health and avoiding further tooth loss. If you’re missing back teeth, the best replacement option is dental implants. They have revolutionized the field of dentistry by providing a long-lasting and effective solution for missing teeth. They have proven to be the best option due to their ability to restore chewing function and prevent bone loss in the jaw.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants have three parts: a titanium post, an abutment, and a restoration. They are built to function like normal tooth roots, providing bone support and a stable foundation. Compared to dentures or bridges, dental implants require minimal maintenance and fewer trips to the dentist. However, implants aren’t for everyone.
Ideal candidates for implants include people who are missing a tooth (or multiple teeth) and have sufficient bone density around the tooth gap. However, there are implant options for some candidates whose jaws are low in density.
The different implant options include:
Single implants are a popular option for replacing a single missing back tooth. The implant is placed in the jawbone where the missing tooth used to be, and a custom-made crown is attached to the top of the implant. The crown is designed to match the shape and color of your existing teeth, providing a natural-looking and functioning replacement.
If you are missing several back teeth, multiple implants can be placed to support a bridge or denture. Implants are placed strategically in the jawbone to provide maximum support for the bridge or denture. This option is ideal for people with several missing teeth in a row or who have lost teeth on both sides of the mouth.
This option involves placing four implants in strategic locations in the jawbone and attaching a full arch of replacement teeth to the implants. All-on-4 implants are a great alternative to traditional dentures because they are permanently attached to the implants and do not need to be removed for cleaning.
When you meet with your cosmetic dental specialist, they can examine your jaw and teeth to help determine which dental implant will be the best option to replace your missing back teeth.
Implant-supported overdentures are an excellent option for people with significant bone loss in the jaw. Overdentures are similar to traditional dentures but are supported by dental implants instead of adhesive. The implants provide stability and prevent them from slipping or falling out while eating or speaking.
Treatment for Missing Back Teeth in Long Island, NY
At Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, our professional team provides a wide range of tooth replacement options, and we’re always here to help when our patients need us most. It’s our mission to give every patient the beautiful and healthy smile they deserve.
Whether you’re missing a back molar, several teeth, or an entire row of teeth, we can help restore your smile and protect your health. We’ll address any concerns and outline your treatment options so you can choose the best replacement that fits your budget, lifestyle, and preferences.
To book a complimentary consultation and explore our missing back teeth solutions, call our Rocky Point or Huntington NY office, or message us online.