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April 18, 2012

Keeping Back Teeth Healthy

When you smile, other people typically only see the front, outer surfaces of your teeth. Many cosmetic treatments, like whitening, veneers, and bonding, brighten these surfaces to improve your physical appearance. However, it’s just as important to take care of the parts of your mouth that other people can’t see. Proper dental care and regular visits to Dr. Pate can help keep front and back teeth healthy so you can function properly.

Why are Back Teeth Overlooked?

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that more people are concerned with achieving a beautiful smile than a healthy one. Many people don’t pay close attention to their back teeth because they aren’t visible and don’t impact overall appearance.

In addition, brushers often have difficulty reaching and cleaning their back molars. Your back teeth are responsible for grinding and crushing your food before you swallow. Your “chewing surfaces” also have deep ridges to help with chomping. Since your back molars are frequently exposed to food, and food can get stuck in the grooves, it’s important to thoroughly clean these teeth to remove debris. If you need help reaching the back of your mouth, try using a toothbrush with a long handle. You should also remember to start your brushing routine at the back of your mouth—while your toothbrush and paste are fresh, and before you tire of brushing. Additionally, at your regular dental cleaning with Dr. Pate, our hygienists will help clean those difficult-to-reach angles that you can’t scrub on your own.

The Importance of Back Teeth

If you don’t take care of your back teeth, you may develop a cavity that leads to pain or sensitivity. Although people won’t be able to tell that your teeth are damaged, they will probably be able to tell if you’re suffering from discomfort or irritability. Additionally, some tooth issues contribute to earaches, jaw pain, and headaches that can hinder your daily concentration. Improper tooth care can also cause gum disease, which ultimately leads to tooth loss. Missing teeth in the back of your mouth will make it difficult to chew, swallow, and speak correctly. Furthermore, adjacent teeth may shift into the empty space left by a missing tooth—creating pain and alignment problems. Fortunately, Dr. Pate offers restorations of dental implants, dentures, and partials to help restore full function and comfort to your mouth.

While cosmetic imperfections are likely to develop on your front teeth, serious dental problems are more likely to form on your back, hidden teeth. Dr. Pate will perform a tooth-by-tooth evaluation and dental x-rays to make sure you’re not neglecting any area of your mouth. Contact Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424 to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Lenox, Brookhaven, Atlanta, and the nearby areas.