Why Are Your Back Teeth So Important?

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Over the last 40 years in practice I have heard so many times that no one sees the back, so just fix the front teeth that are wearing or breaking down.  People do not realize the importance of back teeth for function and cosmetics.

The front teeth are used to bite off a piece of the food you are eating. You can see they are small and narrow and they have one root.  After you bite into the food, it goes to the back of the mouth to grind the food so you can swallow properly and not swallow the food whole and accidentally choke.

The back teeth are wide, large and have three roots. These are the “grinders.“  If you do not have back teeth you will be forced to grind the food using the front teeth which are NOT strong enough for that pressure. Over time, usually a few years, the front teeth will wear down and need extraction.

Secondly, your cheeks are supported by the back teeth. When teeth are removed your cheeks cave in. That is why when you see an older person with a caved-in look it’s because the teeth have been missing for a few years.  If you are let’s say 30 or 40 with missing back teeth, by the time five years go by you will have the look of an 80-year-old.

After a few years of tooth removal, the bone shrinks as well. Please understand that the purpose of your jaw bone is to support your teeth. If a tooth or teeth are removed the bone shrinks away as it loses its purpose.  Then the cheeks cave in.  The longer you wait to replace the teeth the more bone shrinks away and the more bone grafting you may need to be able to place implants.  God made back teeth for a reason. As your ability to chew and eat comfortably deteriorates, so does your health. You are unable to chew healthy foods, salads, nuts, carrots, and are forced to eat soft high-carb foods. Stomach issues abound, blood sugar goes up, diabetes comes along, etc.

The choices of back teeth replacement include a removable bridge called a partial denture, or dental implant.  A  partial is economical, however not very comfortable. If there is not even one tooth on the way back area. the partial will move when you eat and speak. If there is a tooth way in the back with missing teeth in front of that, the partial will have a little more stability.

Implants are a more comfortable choice as they feel like natural teeth, however, they do cost more. The point of all this is that it’s VERY important to replace a lost tooth as quickly as you can. Your healthy-looking (and youthful) smile depends on it! Give us a call today to learn more or to schedule your next visit!