The molars are the rearmost teeth in your mouth and provide an important grinding function while chewing. If you have erupted wisdom teeth, you have three molars on each side of your upper and lower jaw. If you don't have your wisdom teeth, you have two molars. The mandibular right first molars are the molars closest to the front of your mouth, which can take on most of the grinding force.
Were you diagnosed with a deep cavity in your mandibular right first molar? There are a few potential treatment options for this important tooth.
A standard treatment for cavities in general is a filling. Your dentist cleans out the cavity then inserts a hard material into the hole to protect the tooth from further damage. Fillings come in a variety of materials including composite resin, gold, and silver amalgam.
Silver amalgam is one of the strongest filling materials and tends to have a cheaper price tag than gold fillings. A silver filling might be the best choice for your mandibular right front molar as the tooth needs strength to withstand the grinding bite force. Silver doesn't look natural, but the rear positioning of the tooth makes a silver filling less noticeable.
Your dentist might recommend a dental crown if the tooth has a crack or cavity shape that isn't treatable with a filling. A dental crown fits down over the outside of the tooth to form a new protective layer like the enamel.
Crowns come in several materials but metal or metal-backed porcelain are among the best choices for a molar. The metal-backed porcelain crowns offer an upper that looks like a natural tooth with a metal backing for added strength. Porcelain alone can chip under the grinding pressure of a molar tooth.
Dental Extraction and Replacement
A molar with a significant cavity might not be salvageable. Your dentist might recommend extraction to prevent further discomfort. Due to the rear location of the tooth, you can decide to leave the tooth hole empty.
Eventually, you should consider getting a dental replacement such as a dental implant that will help keep the remaining teeth from shifting out of place.
Dental implants are a bit more vulnerable to chipping or loosening under the bite forces. But if you have normal chewing habits and don't grind your teeth at night you might still be a candidate for a dental implant.
Discuss your specific case and options with your cosmetic dentist during your next office visit.