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Dentistry/Teeth protruding from top to botoom of mouth


QUESTION: After I have a bottom molar extracted, and don't replace it with another tooth, will the top teeth, right above the extracted tooth, try to protrude downward.  I am age 73. The above tooth is a two teeth bridge.

ANSWER: Jim -  There is always a tendency throughout life for the teeth to erupt.  So there is a possiblity eruption can always occur.  If, however, either tooth of the upper bridge touches a lower tooth, no eruption will definitely occur to the tooth touching the lower extracted tooth.  That minimal touching is enough.

So if you have any touching relax.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I sent you a question previously, but I think I didn't make myself clear as to my problem. I'll try again.

I have a missing tooth next to a broken off, bottom molar. I am thinking of having the broken molar extracted. Will the top teeth, right above the extracted teeth try to protrude downward if they don't have any tooth to touch? Can you explain the term "eruption" to me?

Jim -  The answer is yes.  Eruption is the tendency to teeth to grow out of the bone.  That means on the lower jaw they grow upwards and on the upper jaw they grow down.  If there are not teeth touching another tooth on the upper or lower jaw, those teeth will grow (erupt) until they are stopped.  If there is no tooth to touch, they will erupt and can eventually bite on the opposite jaw.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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