For those who lose front teeth that are easily visible in the mouth, the primary goal for treatment is usually pretty simple: Replace them, both for aesthetic and functional purposes. However, for teeth in the back of the mouth, those that are tougher to see and won’t be as visible to others throughout the day, some people wonder whether replacement – or any kind of action – is really necessary.

At Canyon Rim Dental, we’re here to tell you that the answer to this question is generally a resounding “yes.” Just because a tooth is further back in the mouth, and therefore less visible to others, does not mean that replacing it is unimportant. We’re happy to offer several services that may benefit you here, from dental implants to tooth-colored fillings and many others. In addition, this two-part blog series will go over all the risks of failing to deal with missing back teeth in the mouth.

importance back teeth drift

Dental Drift

In a normal, healthy mouth that has all its teeth present, each tooth serves as a support structure for the others. Teeth hold each other in place, preventing one another from “drifting” out of place and causing issues.

However, when a tooth anywhere in the mouth goes missing, this support structure begins to crack. Many people will experience what’s known as dental drift, or the early stages of bite misalignment where teeth begin to shift. In some extreme cases, bottom teeth lost will cause the tooth directly above it to over-erupt, or even extend so far out of the gumline that this additional tooth is also lost. However, simply replacing the initial lost tooth quickly will avoid this risk.

Bone Loss Issues

Teeth are also supported by bones further back in the jaw, but issues begin to arise here if a tooth is lost. When this happens, the body begins to recycle the bone material in that area for other purposes – if this is allowed to go on for too long without a replacement tooth to stop the process, it may weaken the jawbone and potentially even change the way your face looks.

Gum Concerns

Another issue the empty tooth space presents is a collection area for food debris and resulting bacteria. Even among those who try to chew their food on the other side of the mouth when a tooth is missing, some food particles will still get into the empty space, creating gum irritation and possible leading to tooth decay in surrounding teeth due to bacteria buildup.

For more on why it’s important to replace any missing tooth in your mouth, even less visible ones in the back, or to learn about any of our family dentist services, speak to the staff at Canyon Rim Dental today.