Can the Loss of A Molar Be A Big Loss?


molarA recent survey has revealed an astonishing figure of at least 70% of the total population in America have one of their molars missing. Is there something alarming about this? Or do you feel that the loss of just one molar might not make a big difference?

As a matter of fact, a single missing molar can have a number of repercussions if it is not replaced in time. For most of us, aesthetics is the most important aspect to be considered. If it doesn’t look bad, it isn’t considered a priority. But, we must understand that restoration of function is equally important as the aesthetic enhancement. A missing tooth can generate a series of changes within our mouth that can lead to various oral problems. Let us take a quick look at the changes that occur within our mouth when a tooth is lost.

  • Bone loss– The alveolar bone (bone that surrounds the tooth root) follows the tooth. This means if the tooth is pulled out, the surrounding bone wears off. This is because alveolar bone can stay only if it is stimulated. When teeth are involved in chewing food the alveolar bone gets stimulated. An implant placed in the area of missing tooth can stimulate the bone similar to the natural tooth.
  • Chewing difficulty– One of the most important functions of back teeth are proper grinding of food so that the food can be swallowed with ease and initial digestive reaction is carried out successfully.
  • Migration of adjacent tooth- The neighbouring tooth shifts into the location of the missing tooth.
  • Change in the bite pattern- The shift of the adjacent tooth leads to a change in the bite pattern.
  • Food impaction- A change in the biting pattern can cause the thrusting of food particles in between teeth. This can lead to dental decay as the food particles stuck between teeth become an enriching source of energy for the decay causing bacteria.
  • Temporomandibular joint problems- irregular biting pattern imposes undue stresses on the temporomandibular joint. Gradually, this might lead to joint problems like pain or difficulty in opening the mouth.

Fortunately, we can avoid these problems from developing by replacing a missing tooth through fixed crowns and bridges or dental implants.