Why Replace Back Teeth (Even Though You Can’t See Them)

When we lose a front tooth, or any tooth that’s visible when we smile, we’re desperate to get it replaced and fill the gap in as soon as we can. Not only do we not like the way a gap in our smile looks, studies reveal it also sends a negative message to others as well. People tend to associate missing teeth in a smile with lower attractiveness and lower status. In one study, participants between the ages of 19 and 50 were shown photos of people smiling, some of whom were missing one or more front teeth. The participants were asked to rate the photos on things ranging from attractiveness, education, health, intelligence and social status. The results showed that the people with visibly missing teeth were more negatively perceived; and the people with all of their teeth, more favorably.

When a back tooth is lost for one reason or another, many people don’t think it’s as important to replace it. However, these back teeth do a lot more for us than just make our smiles pretty.

Each tooth in our mouth helps us not only in chewing and speaking, but also in keeping the other teeth in their proper positions. When a missing tooth is not replaced, over time, the teeth around it may shift and drift in toward the open space. The teeth on each side of it slowly start to tilt in, and teeth above (or below) it grown longer.

Shifting Back teethThis starts a domino effect. Now the teeth no longer line up properly, and the bite is out of alignment. Sometimes teeth tilt so far that they lean almost sideways. These teeth are nearly impossible to clean effectively. Over time, this may lead to tooth/root decay, gum infection, and bone loss of the surrounding teeth.

People tend to focus most on their FRONT teeth, because those are the ones that we all see when we are talking and smiling. But our back teeth are extremely important for function. Our molars and premolars do the bulk of our chewing. They’re truly a vital part of our digestion process, since they break food up small enough that we can properly digest it.


  • Keeps all the other teeth in their proper positions
  • Keeps our bite aligned properly
  • Allows proper chewing and digestion of food
  • Reduces risk for decay, gum disease, or bone loss in adjacent teeth

These issues can all be avoided by simply replacing the missing tooth when it’s lost.

The best and easiest way to replace it, is of course, with a dental implant and crown. But you can also have a fixed bridge if, for some reason, you either can’t have or don’t want a dental implant. Prevention is always better since it is much harder to try and fix all the above problems after they have occurred. 

The best time to get it replaced is as soon as it is possible after the tooth is removed. For dental implants, depending on the placement of the tooth, it’s socket and amount of bone available, it’s best to place the implant either at the time of tooth removal, or as soon as is clinically possible afterward.

If you’re missing a back tooth and would like to have it replaced, come visit us for a complimentary consultation and let us help you replace it and restore your mouth back to its full function and beauty.