Why It’s Mandatory To Manage A Missing Molar
Which tooth is the hardest worker in your mouth? They all have their part to play, but in terms of physical effort, your molars have a lot to deal with. Your upper molars press down into your lower molars, masticating, grinding, and generally pulverizing food, processing it into a manageable consistency to be swallowed. Adults should develop 12 molars (three on each side of the upper and lower jaw), including wisdom teeth. Because you have several molars to share the hard work of chewing, does a missing molar have to be replaced?
Bridges and Dentures
A dental bridge (a false tooth sitting atop the gum ridge) connected to the teeth on either side of the gap will replace a missing molar. Partial dentures will do the same. These are preferable to having a missing tooth, but aren't the best substitute for a molar. Bridges and dentures absorb pressure from bite force, direct it through their prosthetic teeth (which may be ceramic or acrylic), and into the gums. The prosthesis sits on the gums with no connection to your jaw, and this sharply limits the amount of bite force dental bridges or dentures can deliver. As such, they're not the most practical molar replacement choice.
A dental implant duplicates the function of a natural tooth root. It's placed where the missing tooth's root used to be—in your jawbone. Dental implant surgery installs this artificial tooth root (which is a small titanium screw) in your jaw, where healing will immediately begin. The bone closes around the implant, so the artificial components (the implant) and organic components (the bone) are integrated. The implant can now have a ceramic molar attached to it.
The ceramic tooth has been designed to look as identical as possible to the missing tooth. It should be indistinguishable from the real thing. Because of the considerable bite force the tooth will experience, it has to be securely attached to the implant. The ceramic tooth comes with a small hole through its center. This lets your dentist screw the tooth to the implant, creating maximum stability to allow the tooth to handle all the work of a natural molar. The hole is then closed using tooth-colored dental cement, and your molar is no longer missing.
When a molar is missing, the remaining molars must compensate, leading to accelerated wear and tear. With a missing molar in the dental arch, the molars on either side may tilt into the gap due to the immense bite forces they experience, and your teeth can become crooked. A missing molar must be replaced — to explore your options, contact a dental service in your area such as Conestoga Oral Surgery.