I had porcelain veneers put in. Then one of my back teeth had a crack in the root and had to pulled. How important is it to replace a tooth if it can’t be seen? It’s the second tooth from the back.
Carlton W. from Florida
It would be sad to neglect your smile after spending so much on porcelain veneers. Each tooth is designed to touch the teeth on either side with just the right amount of force to keep food from packing in those spaces. Also, when you close your mouth, each tooth on your upper jaw meets each tooth on your lower jaw at exactly the same time, so they all fit and you can clench all your teeth together. To accomplish this there are drifting forces built into the positions of the teeth. When your teeth erupt, they keep going until they hit something. Your back teeth have a tendency to drift forward until they hit something, which keeps the adjacent teeth touching each other.
If however, you are missing an upper first molar (your second tooth from the back), the tooth behind it will tip into that space, and the lower first molar will drift up looking for its mate on the upper jaw. This creates some problems. First, it will throw your bit out of harmony, which is the leading cause of TMJ. It also will cause your teeth to tip into each other, which will lead to vertical bone loss. Your first molars are actually anchor teeth, so when one of them is missing it will disrupt your entire bite. I recommend you replace this tooth.
You have two options for replacing your missing tooth. The first is to get a dental implant. That will put a root form directly into your jawbone with a dental crown on top of it. The second option is to get a dental bridge. This will affect three teeth. There will be a three tooth unit that contains two crowns and a false tooth suspended between them. That will require your two adjacent teeth to be ground down.
This blog is brought to you by Auburn dentist Dr. Raymond Bolt.