Back Teeth Archives - Prosthodontist in Johannesburg
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Back Teeth

I never knew about all the specialities in dentistry. I know about Oral surgeons who take out wisdom teeth. I know about Orthodontists who straighten teeth and make one look pretty.

But I never knew about Periodontists or Prosthodontists! I have been going to the dentist regularly for treatment and had never been made aware of the higher level of care that is available by specialists.

I really care about my teeth and want them to last a lifetime.

Consider these scenarios…

  • A filling has broken on a tooth which has been worked on so many times. Each time it is an inconvenience and more money, yet the problem persists. I am now told that the tooth needs an implant. Should this really have happened if I have been so conscientious with my dental visits?
  • I am told that I need a root treatment.
  • I have persistent pain in a tooth and nobody can find out why.
  • My gums are bleeding all the time.
  • A tooth has loosened.
  • Food catches between my teeth and I cannot floss without the floss tearing.
  • The crown on my front tooth is always falling out

Do your front teeth look like this?

image 1

Do your back teeth look like this?


The care you will get from a Prosthodontist looks like this…



images 3

Is this the care you deserve?

A prosthodontist has acquired advanced skills to help you look after your teeth and achieve long-term dental health.

Take the first step towards good dental help, by giving us a call.


Let me share a true story with you of how little a patient really knows about what’s going on in their mouth.

This afternoon a lady in her late 40’s consulted with me asking to replace a tooth with an implant.

Crown Falling Out – Upper Premolar

The reason for her visit was that a tooth had been crowned and was most uncomfortable. The crown was often falling out and always at the wrong time. She knew there was something wrong and it had to be attended to. Nobody that she had recently been to see could help her properly!

Thanks to Dr Google she found our office. She has certainly come to the right place. A specialist prosthodontist is trained to offer comprehensive dentistry by treating the specific problem and making an overall assessment of the entire mouth.

A single tooth may present with a problem that needs attention. But a tooth does not stand alone. It is part of the whole mouth of teeth which all function together and work in harmony to provide comfort and function. The jawbones, the muscles, the teeth, tongue all function together and form the beginning of the digestive tract.

Besides this particular problem, a complete examination of her mouth revealed a host of other problems that she was totally unaware of. She is missing lower back teeth which have caused the collapse of her bite and increased wrinkles on her face.

Panoramic x-ray

She now has crooked front teeth. Amazingly she says she has no difficulty in chewing. This may be true at the moment because of adaptation over time but in the long run things are only going to get worse with the possible loss of more teeth. She does not realize the consequences.

Because of the loss of back teeth one may start to experience pain in the joints of the jaw and even gaps may develop between the front teeth. Chewing becomes difficult. Some foods need to be avoided and digestive problems may occur. These are chewing problems that are avoidable and if they occur, are difficult and costly to treat.

Many of her remaining lower teeth are problematic and are coming to the end of their usefulness.

Back Teeth

In general, I often wonder why so many patients loose back teeth so nonchalantly. Somehow they don’t realise the importance of them or the consequences of their loss.


Back teeth: right hand side

So now, what does one advise this lady going forward… She certainly does not want to be like her elderly parents who now wear dentures and who didn’t have the benefits of modern dentistry in their day. (Fortunately many denture wearers can now also derive the benefit of implants but who wants to be in that position in the first place).

There is shock, disappointment and dismay when coming to the realisation that the treatment of this single tooth is not an isolated procedure and that her past treatment has not provided for sound long -term dental health.


Back teeth: left hand side

The recommended approach to treatment is hard to digest (excuse the pun). Treatment is now costly and time-consuming. It all could have been avoided with proper dental care.

Do we eat to live or do we live to eat? That is an interesting question. Perhaps the answer is that both are true. Let’s say that we need to eat to live and most of us love to eat!

A sumptuous meal of one’s favourite dish or the enjoyment of a meal in a favourite restaurant are amongst the joys of life. Close your eyes and roll your tongue over your teeth and imagine savouring that delicious flavour.

Back teeth are vital for the function of eating through proper chewing. They are the grinders that break the food down as it mixes with the saliva as part of the initial digestive process. Slow and adequate chewing is essential for good digestion.

The back teeth maintain the proportion of the face and prevent wrinkles and sagging. Why look older than you have to?

Do you have all your back teeth and are they sound and healthy? Is your chewing now compromised because of missing teeth; a broken down tooth; a cracked tooth; or perhaps extensive decay?

Most of us have had fillings on our back teeth and are they still in good order? What filling material has been used and how many times has the same tooth been worked on. Leaking fillings, overhanging margins, the inappropriate material and poor contacts are some of the problems that may exist in your mouth and that you are totally unaware of. The tongue does not pick up these problems. Only a dentist will.

The face is the window to the soul. A bright beautiful smile lights up one’s face. A smile makes a connection to the world and together with beautiful teeth enhances one’s self-esteem and confidence.

Everybody is focused on beautiful front teeth but what about the back teeth that you don’t see unless you open your mouth very wide.

Why be compromised with missing back teeth or defective fillings. Enjoy the benefits of restoring your teeth to proper shape and form – not just filling them. Be comfortable, pain-free and hassle free.

Back teeth are really important for your long-term health and well-being.

Have them restored properly and give them a chance to last a lifetime. With proper care they really should.

Give us a call. You will be happy that you did.

This panoramic x-ray is fascinating in the detail that it shows of a seven-year-old child growing and developing. Let us look at the x-ray very closely so that you will understand why back teeth are so important in looking after from an early age.

The first thing that you might notice is that the permanent teeth are in the process of development sitting under the roots of the primary(baby). All the primary teeth are still in the mouth except for the two lower front teeth. Both permanent lower central incisors are erupting.

On the upper arch there is a full complement of primary teeth. The roots are still intact and these teeth except for the 2 upper front teeth will probably stay in the mouth for another four years.

On the lower jaw the primary teeth are still firmly attached to the bone. As the permanent teeth develop and move upwards they cause the roots of the baby teeth to dissolve. At the age of approx 11 these baby teeth loosen and fall out allowing the permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth.

The permanent teeth that are most well developed are the first molar teeth which can be seen at the back of the mouth. These teeth have now erupted into the mouth at the tender age of between six and seven years old. These are called the six-year-old molars

All the teeth are in an ideal state of growth and development. These teeth should last a lifetime in a healthy pristine state…with proper care and good dentistry. But, the reality is often not so. Why?  Because they erupt into the mouth at such an early age, they are extremely vulnerable to ravages of dental decay. They need very special care and attention. They are precious. 

Great responsibility is needed on the part of the parent and child himself or herself to keep them sound and healthy. This involves effective plaque control; a controlled diet of as little sweets as possible; and possibly fissure sealants in the grooves on the biting surfaces of these teeth.

Little cavities must be detected early and treated appropriately. If not, further decay develops.. It is important to understand what happens when these molar teeth become ravaged with the passage of time and inadequate care… A large filling may fail if improperly restored; the tooth then needs to be root treated; the root treatment fails; the tooth is then extracted; followed by leaving a space or placing an implant… A downward cascade with the negative consequences which all could have been prevented.