Previously the only teeth I had extracted were my wisdom teeth. However, my #18 molar's root canal failed and it was infected. This week my molar was extracted and human bone graft material was inserted. The plan is to get an implant. I am 58 years old. My question is, do I have to replace this molar? What would happen if I don't get a dental implant and I just leave it alone once healed?
Your mandibular second molar (#18) is the last molar on your lower jaw, and you can function just fine without it.
I can tell you that replacing it with a dental implant would prevent the upper molar from erupting down into the space left by the missing molar. Also, the bone slowly disappears after an extraction and an implant would prevent this from happening.
But, basically it is a decision that you need to make. How important is it to you to replace that missing molar?
As a dentist, the ideal solution is the implant, but it is up to you to determine (with the advice of your dentist) what is best for you.
Carlos Boudet, DDS, DICOI