Our molar teeth come under a lot of pressure and sometimes need repairing, or replacing
If you have previously had a dental filling, the chances are that these will be on the teeth at the rear of your mouth that we call molars. These flat surfaced teeth are designed for chewing and breaking down of food. We also tend to use them to bite or break harder foods as they are our strongest teeth.
Inevitably, from time to time, we bite on something that is too hard and a tooth can crack. Decay is also more likely due to the nature of the flat surface and the fact that some people may not clean our rear teeth quite as well as we do the more visible ones at the front.
At the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford, we believe in prevention of decay and damage where possible. Where this does occur though, patients can be assured that we have a range of treatments that can be used to restore these hard working teeth.
This is the most common restoration method for when a tooth has suffered damage or decay and it is especially useful where the damage is not too severe. Traditionally, amalgam has been used for this type of repair. This is a metal based filling which is very strong and therefore ideal on rear teeth. It is not without its disadvantages though as it is very dark in appearance and can be very visible when you laugh or yawn. It also has a tendency to shrink a little over time, exposing small gaps around the edges, leading to further decay in this area.
There is an alternative in tooth coloured fillings. These have improved over time and are now almost as strong as amalgam in many cases. Because of the pressure applied to the molars though, and depending on the size of the cavity, we may recommend that an inlay or onlay is used instead. These provide a stronger solution whilst also being made in the same colour of the tooth to keep it as natural looking as possible.
Where damage or decay is significant, the above solutions may not be sufficient and a dental crown may be used instead. This will involve shaping the damaged tooth so that the crown can be attached. This is done with a dental adhesive and, once fitted, should significantly improve the strength of the tooth. It is important that you clean well around the tooth that has had a crown fitted as the natural tooth can still decay and cause the crown to fit less well. Over time, this could lead to the crown becoming detached. In the fairly unlikely event that this does happen to you, please don’t attempt to reattach it yourself, but call our Wickford practice to make an appointment to have it put back on by a dentist.
Extraction and replacement
Because of the force applied when chewing, it isn’t unusual for teeth that have already been compromised to break beyond repair. When this happens it is likely that the tooth will have to be extracted. Although there may be a temptation to leave a gap at the back of the mouth when this happens, we advise against this. Although it may not be highly visible, the loss of a tooth in this area can have a negative effect on your other teeth.
Any tooth loss can cause a ‘drift’ of other teeth towards the gap that has been created. This can have a knock on effect and potentially lead to your teeth becoming crooked and uneven. This and the tendency to ‘shift’ the work of that tooth onto another one can mean that we end up with uneven tooth wear and even breakages due to the additional strain. With this in mind, we recommend that patients have the lost tooth replaced.
Dental implant solution
Although dentures can be used in this area, they are not always ideal due to the role that they need to fulfil i.e breaking down food and potential instability. A bridge, usually a more stable solution, often can’t be used either, as there needs to be a tooth either side to attach it to. This leaves the best option currently available in the form of dental implants. Although the placing of a dental implant requires a small surgical procedure, the benefits are significant. A dental implant replaces both root and crown of the lost tooth, giving it a strength and stability far greater than other alternatives. Once the implant is established, you will be able to eat any food that you wish, although we do recommend a gradual reintroduction of harder foods so that you can comfortably become accustomed to your new tooth.
Dental implants are also straightforward to keep clean and it is important that you do so. Although they can’t decay like a natural tooth can, infections such as periodontitis and peri-implantitis can be a threat, so diligent brushing, flossing and also periodic cleaning by the hygienist twice a year are recommended.
If you have a rear tooth (molar) that is causing you problems or if you have already lost a rear tooth and are interested in seeing how we can replace it for you, why not make an appointment to have a consultation with one of our dentists. You can call the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.