4 Tooth Replacement Options for Missing Molars

by | Jun 29, 2021 | Implants, Oral Surgery

With age, most of us are likely to experience a falling tooth or two. This is quite common amongst the current population, with a study showing that, on average, people reaching the age of 50 would have lost about 7 of their permanent teeth.

Even the loss of a single tooth is definitely going to alter the appearance of the smile that you were used to all these years. As time passes, more serious problems can occur, such as with the alignment of your teeth.

So, what causes teeth to fall out? Well, it could be any of the following reasons:

  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay left untreated
  • Genetic conditions
  • Injuries

No matter how your teeth fell out, you may find yourself thinking about how you can get that tooth replaced. And luckily for you, there are quite a number of ways to replace a missing molar or any tooth you may have.


Is it okay to have a missing molar?

The molars you have in the back of your mouth are usually out of sight. Therefore, even if you were to lose one, it wouldn’t affect your smile and be visible. Due to this, many people tend to ignore the fact that they lost one of their back teeth and simply let it be.

It may not seem important, but in reality, the missing tooth can cause severe problems in the future. Here is what happens when a molar is missing:

  • It can affect the alignment of all your teeth. Even though your teeth are fitted into place on your jaw, they can still move around. When a tooth is lost, the surrounding teeth will accelerate the way they move, causing the other teeth to move also. Over time, you will be left with a set of completely misaligned teeth.
  • It can affect your bite alignment (malocclusion) or the way your teeth bite down on something. You may not be able to chew all the different foods you love and you will be faced with different ailments such as headaches, muscle pains, and increased tooth sensitivity.
  • It will increase the stress on your jaw. Teeth help to stimulate the jaw in the same way that exercise improves muscle. Once you lose a tooth, that area will also lose bone support, thus reducing the strength of the jaw.
  • Your teeth may get too close together which makes it harder to clean in between them. This will cause bacteria to remain in the area affecting your enamel and gums.

Your teeth’ alignment also affects the shape and structure of your face. Therefore, when its alignment changes due to missing teeth, you are also likely going to see changes on your face. It will begin to look sunken in places. For example, you may have seen how a person’s face changes when they remove their removable dentures.


Four best ways to replace your back tooth

As you have learned, simply ignoring the lost molar is not going to do you any good and will only cause more problems in the future. Unfortunately, there are no home remedies or anything similar that you can do. Your best option would be to schedule a visit with your dentist who will then give you their opinion. Though if you want to know what options are available to you, here are different ways to fix a missing molar:

1. Dental implants

Dental implants are arguably the best method to replacing a lost molar. They have been designed to replace your natural tooth root and bore into your jawbone. They are very reliable and will end up both looking and feeling like a natural tooth.

In fact, dental implants can last a lifetime if they are properly taken care of. This is more of a long-term solution, but it beats having to come back to the dentist for replacement procedures every year. The dental implant procedure can take a few months to fully heal and fuse together with your jaw bone.

2. Partial dentures

A complete set of dentures is reserved for those that need to have all of their teeth replaced. This method is a much simpler one with the aim of using removable dentures for people who only have a few teeth missing. It uses metal clasps to fit onto your other teeth which holds the denture in place while still allowing you to remove it easily.

This method is less expensive than implants, quite effective at fixing your smile, and is a very quick procedure. However, in most cases, they don’t look very natural, need to be removed, and cleaned every day. They also tend to break quite easily.

3. Implant-supported dentures

These are a combination of both dentures and implants. Your oral surgeon will first surgically attach a few implants into the jawbone and then leave it to heal for a few months. A specialized denture set will then be attached to these points which cannot be removed by yourself.

This method has the best of both worlds, looks and feels natural, and needs to be taken care of exactly like you would your normal teeth. However, this option may not be available for everyone as you need to have enough jawbone tissue to be successful.

4. Implant-supported bridge

Using this method, you don’t need to insert a dental implant into every tooth you’re missing if they are grouped together. Usually, only the teeth at the two ends are fitted into place using implants. The teeth in between the two are held together using these implants rather than having to screw more in.

A bridge can be as effective as a regular dental implant, provides a very natural look, and is more affordable than replacing each of your missing teeth. However, they can only be used under very specific circumstances. The bridges need to be replaced once in a while and requires a lot more visits to the dentist.


Which method should I use?

In the end, the best way to determine how you should replace your tooth would be to visit a dentist. They can do a complete evaluation and decide which method is safest. The above methods act to inform you about the different methods available to you, but the best advice will come from your dentist.

To schedule an appointment with Laguna Vista Dental, simply send us an inquiry or give us a call whenever you require a dental consultation.

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton is the owner and lead dentist at Laguna Vista Dental in Elk Grove, CA. Dr. She has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Andrews University. She then went on to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, where she graduated with honors and is a member of the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) National Dental Honor Society. Dr. Fenton is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Sacramento District Dental Society. In her time away from the office, Dr. Fenton enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, spending time outdoors and watching movies.

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