… OR, DO I NEED TO GET AN IMPLANT TO REPLACE A MISSING MOLAR?
The American College of Prosthodontists reports that 178 million people in the US are missing at least one tooth. Delta Dental Northeast reports that nearly half of Americans ages 65 and older have lost six or more teeth, and 20 percent have lost all of their teeth. In our Creve Coeur practice, we fortunately don’t see averages this high.
When the missing tooth is toward the front of the smile, most people will replace it with a dental implant or other tooth replacement option.
However, when the missing tooth is a molar or toward the back, it can seem less important to do anything. The logic goes: “if no one can see it, it’s not as important as a missing tooth closer to the front.”
Missing back teeth are common because the molars are the first adult teeth to erupt and unfortunately, often the first to be lost due to decay or fracture. And, as this post hopes to convey, the impact of a missing back tooth on your smile is equally as important in the long run as a front tooth.
Any missing tooth initiates this cascading series of events:
- Wrinkles appear around the mouth. Upper and lower lips lose fullness and appear thinner.
- Lips droop at corners of the mouth. Collapse of upper lip due to underlying bone loss and loss of fullness will make the nose appear larger than if the upper lip had more support.
- Decrease in facial height as the distance between the tip of the nose and chin reduces.
- The chin moves forward.
These changes occur over time due to bone loss triggered by a missing tooth.
When a tooth is missing and isn’t replaced, the jawbone supporting that tooth has no purpose and will begin to shrink. What follows is:
- the teeth begin to shift;
- chewing is shifted to other teeth, causing them to wear faster;
- 20% of adjacent teeth will be lost within 4-8 years; and
- the bone shrinks, leading to the collapsing facial appearance described above.
If you’re looking for a cosmetic dentist in Creve Coeur, Artistic Dentistry has been providing all cosmetic services for over thirty years. With advanced technology, including 3D imaging, state-of-the-art sterilization, laser therapy and the most natural dental materials available that are effective, we’ve become the Go-To Center for Tooth Replacement. In that we offer all tooth replacement services, we’re not partial to one or the other. Our approach is simply to find out which option works best for our patient, based on his/her dental condition, needs and budget.