If you are missing one or two teeth, especially in areas that are less visible, it can be easy to quickly adapt to their loss. You might imagine there’s no real reason to replace missing teeth, as after all you can manage perfectly well without them, or can you?
This is quite a common assumption but it’s quite wrong to think this way. We tend to think of each tooth as being an individual unit that functions on its own, but in fact they make up a complete system and each is reliant on its neighbour to function correctly. Human teeth are comprised of anterior or front teeth and posterior or back teeth. The anterior teeth consist of the canines and incisors and are used for cutting and biting into food. The posterior teeth consist of premolars and molars and are used for grinding and chewing food.
Your Back Teeth Support Your Cheeks
Even though your posterior teeth are less visible they have an extremely important function as they support the vertical height of your face. If you lose teeth at the back of your mouth then your face will lose some height and will begin to collapse inwards, a look that can be extremely aging as this loss of support will lead to wrinkles and folds developing. In addition, loss of back teeth places additional pressure on your front teeth as they struggle to cope with the extra load placed on them during eating and chewing. As a result they can begin to splay outwards and forwards.
Tooth Loss Affects Diet and Nutrition
It’s also much more difficult to eat properly when you only have your front teeth as they are not designed for chewing. You might find yourself making different food choices and opting for foods that are softer and which require almost no chewing whatsoever. While this might make it easier, it could mean eating foods that don’t contain so many nutrients and this can impact your general health.
You’ll also notice the positions of your remaining teeth begin to change, as nature abhors a vacuum. Your remaining teeth will begin to move into the gaps left by missing teeth, and as a result the way your teeth bite together will gradually change. These types of alterations can be very difficult for your dentist to correct at a later date, and may place pressure on your temporomandibular joints. These are the joints responsible for moving your lower jaw, and problems with them can be quite painful
So Why Choose Dental Implants?
Your two main choices for replacing back teeth are to use a partial denture or to have a dental bridge. Neither of these is particularly good, especially if you’re missing teeth right at the back of your mouth as there will be very little support for either solution. A dental implant doesn’t require any sort of support from existing teeth as it is a standalone unit that consists of a strong titanium post inserted directly into your jawbone. This is used to support a crown or bridge that will easily be strong enough to withstand chewing forces in your mouth. It can be fabricated to replace lost height, supporting your cheeks and giving you a more youthful appearance. Best of all the results can be permanent.