Premolar teeth are the smaller version of the molar teeth positioned between those rear molars and the front canines. The small premolars offer grinding assistance while chewing. The loss of both premolars on one or both sides of your mouth can create severe chewing difficulties, create bite issues, and lower your self-esteem.
There are a few different ways that your general or family dentist can replace missing premolar teeth. The best choice depends on the number of missing teeth in the area and your personal preferences.
If you have only two missing premolars in one side of your mouth, a pair of dental implants might prove practical and comfortable. Dental implants start with a metal screw-shaped root that your dentist will insert into a drilled well in the jawbone. A healing period of months follows to allow the bone to heal around the grooves in that root to securely hold the root in place. Finally, an artificial dental crown is snapped on to the root. You will receive this whole procedure twice, once for each missing premolar, though the treatments may occur at the same time.
Advantages of dental implants include the security and stability that provide a natural feel while chewing. The roots also help promote jawbone health under the missing premolars, and this is important because the loss of the teeth can quickly lead to jawbone erosion that threatens the foundation of neighboring healthy teeth.
Disadvantages include the lengthy treatment time and the fact that you need fairly healthy jawbone in the first place to receive the implants. If your jawbone isn't healthy, you might be able to undergo a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone, but that will add even more healing time to the treatment process.
Partial Dentures or Overdentures
Do you have more missing teeth in that side of the mouth than just the premolars? Your dentist might recommend placing partial dentures to correct all of the missing teeth at the same time.
Partial dentures contain a series of artificial teeth attached to a fairly rigid flesh-colored base. The plate has holes in the areas where you still have teeth so that the natural teeth can poke through and provide additional support for the plate, which also has hooks on both ends that loop around the natural teeth on the ends to hold the plate in place.
Partial dentures look good and feel more natural than most full dentures but don't feel as natural as dental implants. A good middle option is overdentures or implant-supported partial dentures, which involve the dentist inserting metal roots in the endmost empty spaces so that the ends of the partial plate snap down onto the metal roots.
The overdentures will have the same waiting and healing period as dental implants and the same jawbone health or graft requirements. But you can at least wear a traditional partial-denture set while you wait for the healing.
Visit a dentist such as Joe Rosenberg, DDS to learn more about what option is right for you.