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How does Tooth Splinting Work?

By Kevin Gill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Tooth splinting works by joining teeth together to add strength and tighten the teeth. Various conditions could lead to a person needing a tooth splint. A multitude of methods exist to treat tooth mobility, which is the condition of having loose teeth. Through teeth bonding, tooth stability can be achieved, thus limiting or eliminating tooth mobility.

The process of tooth splinting can be necessitated by anything that causes teeth mobility. These loose teeth can cause pain or discomfort while eating. Tooth mobility also exposes the internal parts of the gums to more debris and potential infection. Gum disease, tooth trauma or bad habits such as clenching and grinding can all cause tooth mobility.

A basic means a tooth splinting involves glue or cement approved for dental uses. The loose teeth are bonded together using the chemical substance to create tooth stability. This form of teeth bonding can involve etching the teeth so that the bonding agent has more tooth surface to which it can attach. After the bonding agent dries and the loose teeth are stabilized the gum tissue attaches itself in place.

Tooth splinting might include an actual tooth splint. This is a small device that is custom made by a dentist, and it takes up space near the loose tooth. This item is used to put a single loose tooth back in alignment and might not involve contact with other teeth.

The dental splint comes in many forms. It can be made from different materials. The basic design can vary. It might be prefabricated outside the dental office where it is being used, or it can be custom made in-house.

Tooth splinting by means of a dental splint can involve multiple teeth. If gum disease has loosened several teeth, then a dental splint is implanted to create stability. This stability is achieved by using the dental splint to anchor loose teeth to stable and non-mobile teeth.

A tooth splint or dental splint can be made of different types of plastic. Any material approved for oral use might find use in this application. Even titanium splints that can be bent to fit a specific dental pattern are available. The primary considerations are cost and severity of the condition that is causing tooth mobility.

After tooth splinting has been performed, the need for special tooth care increases. Tooth splinting prevents the use of floss, because the bonding material is between the teeth. Patients who have had tooth-splinting procedures will need to use a proxy brush to clean areas that were formerly cleaned with floss.

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Discussion Comments
By pastanaga — On Mar 23, 2013

I really don't like this idea of splinting teeth. It just seems like a bit of a stop-gap measure.

I guess the only other alternative is pulling the tooth, since it's not like we can get the gum to tighten up once it has become loose.

But I'm really looking forward to the day when dentistry becomes more about reconstruction and less about patching holes.

By irontoenail — On Mar 23, 2013

@Mor - The thing is, back in the day, people used to live on leaves, meat and maybe some roots if we were lucky. None of those things will feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay as well as the sugars and processed foods we all eat today.

So that's one of the reasons we have so much trouble with our teeth. The other reason is that we never used to live much past 30-40 years old or so, which seems to be around the age that most people start having serious problems with their teeth if they haven't been taking care of them.

Tooth mobility seems to be an issue with tooth grinding (and other issues) which I think is probably a fairly modern problem as well, from stress.

On the other hand, we should be grateful we have the ability to treat teeth. Back then it would have been pulled, or left to fall out on its own.

By Mor — On Mar 23, 2013

Teeth are really pretty annoying when you think about it. They just seem to be incredibly fragile for the work they have to do.

I wish we had teeth more like shark's teeth, where they basically were made to wear out and to fall out and another set is waiting to take over after they do.

It's just so expensive and it can be so painful. And I do grind my teeth so I'm sure my dentist is going to be splinting my teeth one day.

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