Dental Implants for Missing Molars: What Patients Should Know
A missing tooth can lead to a lot of problems when it comes to the appearance of your smile as well as everyday tasks you might take for granted. For instance, if you’re missing a molar or multiple molars, eating certain foods can be a major hassle. That’s where the team at Harmony Dental Care can help.
A number of patients who visit our Jackson, MS practice wonder if dental implants can be used to help replace missing molars. Let’s take a moment to consider the issue, first by exploring the role that molars play in your mouth.
The Function of Your Molars
Molars are the broad, flat teeth located at the back of the mouth. When eating, molars help crush, grind, and mash food so it’s easier to swallow.
As you can imagine, if you’re missing molars, it’s much more difficult to chew foods. Vegetables, fruits, and other crunchy or tough foods may be difficult to eat. A soft food diet might be necessary simply given your limitations when it comes to chewing. This is why replacement options are so important in these cases.
About Dental Implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored into your jawbone. When in place, the dental implants function just like natural tooth roots. The dental implants can support individual crowns, bridgework, and even full dentures. Patients will experience improved smile aesthetics and restored ability to eat foods as they normally did before tooth loss occurred.
The overall treatment process will require several months since the dental implant will need to fuse with the jawbone. This process is known as osseointegration.
Candidates for Dental Implants
Good candidates for dental implants are people who are missing a tooth or multiple teeth and have sufficient bone density in the area of the tooth gap. They should be in good overall health and able to tolerate oral surgery without experiencing severe health issues following the procedure.
Bone Grafting and Gum Grafting May Be Needed
If a patient has suffered from bone loss and/or gum recession in the area of the tooth gap, additional surgery will be needed to build the hard and soft tissues. Bone grafting and gum grafting are both options that can make patients good candidates for dental implants in such circumstances.
Keep in mind that getting a bone graft or gum graft will come at an additional cost, and extra time will be necessary to heal before the implant dentistry process can resume.
Replacing Multiple Molars
When a patient is just missing one molar, a single dental crown can be used to replace that tooth. In cases of more extensive tooth loss, different options will be considered.
For a few teeth missing (say molars and premolars), a dental bridge can help replace multiple teeth in a row. When the patient is missing most or all of their teeth, a denture will be most ideal. During a consultation, we can cover these options with you in much greater detail.
Learn More About Implant Dentistry
To learn more about implant dentistry and if it’s the right option for you and your needs, be sure to contact a skilled restorative dentist today. The team at Harmony Dental Care want to help you smile and experience all of the benefits of good dental health.