Many people lose at least one tooth during their lifetime, usually one of the molars in the back of the mouth. So, does losing a back tooth really matter? After all, you can't see it and you have plenty of other teeth in your mouth.

It may surprise you to learn that losing a back tooth could have serious consequences for your dental and overall health.

Here's why losing a back tooth could be more serious than you might think, in addition to some helpful advice on how a dental implant could prevent problems a missing tooth could cause.

The Possible Consequences of Losing a Back Tooth

Although there may be no aesthetic consequences to losing a back tooth, failing to replace it promptly could have serious repercussions on your dental and overall health in a number of ways.

Further Tooth Loss

When a tooth is lost, the alveolar bone of your jaw that surrounds that tooth is no longer subjected to the tiny stresses it’s used to. Without the stimulation of those stresses, the bone fails to rebuild and remodel, eventually just breaking down.

If enough bone is lost, the teeth in or near the weakened area may become loose and ultimately fall out. In addition, the gum tissue around the affected area will shrink and recede. Aside from additional visible tooth loss, your ability to chew and even to speak clearly could be affected.

Facial Changes

Once the alveolar bone has deteriorated, the basal bone beneath it may also be affected. Your back teeth provide support to the vertical dimensions of your face. If multiple back teeth are lost in conjunction with bone loss, the front teeth can be pushed forward. As a consequence, the lower part of the face can collapse.

Your chin will also move upward and forward, and without the support of your teeth, your cheeks can become sunken and hollow. Furthermore, the contours and definition of your face and lips could change, further altering your facial structure.

Additionally, serious bone loss can leave you more vulnerable to jaw fractures as you age.

Poor Health

If you are unable to eat properly because of poor dentition and a damaged jaw, your overall health could suffer. Dramatic facial changes could also affect you psychologically, leading to depression and loss of self-confidence.

The Solution to Missing Back Teeth That Can Prevent Bone Loss

The most effective way of preventing bone loss as a result of missing back teeth, is to have a dental professional anchor dental implants to your jaw.

Titanium dental implant posts are fixed into the jaw bone, acting as supports for natural-looking prosthetic teeth or crowns. Dental implants help keep your jaw bone healthy by providing the normal stimulation that the bone tissue needs to stay healthy.

Over time, dental implants become fused into the bone, enabling you to chew and eat normally once they’re covered with a cap. The overall structure also keeps the muscles, nerves, and joints of your jaw bone healthy and strong. And the stronger the tissues around your jaw, the more toned your facial features will be.

Dental implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth so you can maintain your smile and prevent many of the problems outlined above.

Before the procedure, though, your dentist will determine if you’re a good candidate or help you make the necessary changes so you are eligible for implants.

If you lose a back tooth, the long term consequences of not replacing it could be serious. The dentists at Cambridge City Dental are experts in carrying out cosmetic and implant dental procedures. Give the friendly team at Cambridge City Dental a call to find out more about how dental implants could help you.