The implanted portion of a dental implant is a titanium alloy bolt, which is placed in the alveolar ridge. This ridge is a dense piece of bone that fits over your maxilla (upper jaw bone) or mandible (lower jaw bone). The bone fuses around the titanium alloy bolt, and the process is completed with a prosthetic dental crown to replace the missing tooth. This is why dental implants are also referred to as tooth implants or dental crown implants. The benefits of an implant are fairly obvious in an outward-facing tooth, where a missing tooth is extremely conspicuous. But do you need a dental crown implant for a rear molar?
Cost and Benefit
There's a cost to a dental crown implant, and this cost is your recovery time, along with the actual money that you pay for the procedure. The benefit of an implant can be self-evident when the missing tooth has created a glaringly obvious gap in your smile, and this will overrule any concerns you might have about the cost of the procedure. But surely you can safely avoid this cost when the missing tooth is a rear molar, which nobody will notice anyway?
Obviously, nobody will force you to receive an implant. Any type of tooth replacement is optional, but if you forego replacement, it's you who ends up paying the price. Your molars handle the hard work of your mastication needs (the chewing of your food). When one is absent, the workload is spread out amongst your remaining teeth. This increased pressure means your other teeth can be subject to premature deterioration.
The problem of an absent molar isn't limited to your teeth, and also includes your jaw bone. Without adequate stimulation (courtesy of the bite pressure experienced by a tooth), the alveolar ridge loses density. At the site of the missing tooth, the bone will lose width, then height, and then its mass has been reduced. This is a continuing process too.
Your Facial Structure
The long-term implications of bone recession can create a sunken look on your face. The bone that supports your cheeks, lips, and your overall facial structure has been compromised, meaning that the lower portion of your face will begin to look smaller. This will become more pronounced as the years go by. The only way to reverse this bone recession is with a dental crown implant, with the titanium alloy acting as an artificial tooth root, stimulating the alveolar bone in an identical way to a natural tooth.
You might think that you can skip an implant when you have a missing rear molar, but you'll eventually pay the price for this inaction, and the price will be higher than the actual time and financial cost of the procedure. Learn more by contacting a dentist who can discuss getting dental crown implants.