Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Splinting Teeth

Healthy Teeth Are Strong and Steady
In their normal state, teeth surrounded by healthy supporting structures exhibit very little mobility. Mobility can be defined in this case as movement of the teeth. Pushing on the teeth with dental instruments may cause the tooth to be deflected slightly from the "at rest" position, but this movement will be very, very slight.

Why Teeth May Need To Be Splinted
When the supporting bone is compromised and affected by periodontal disease, the teeth will show more mobility. If the tooth or teeth are subjected to trauma, they can be loosened in their sockets. Bruxing and grinding habits can also loosen teeth.

Teeth that are not too severely damaged by trauma will return to their former stability. Temporary splinting of the loosened teeth to each other or to other undamaged teeth may be required.

If the mobility is caused by clenching or grinding of the teeth, adjustment of the bite (occlusion) and the fabrication of a protective antigrinding/bruxing appliance may be indicated. In this case, no splinting of the teeth would be required.

The most common reason for splinting teeth is mobility cause by periodontal disease. The teeth show more movement as the bone support for the teeth diminishes. Multi-rooted teeth (molars) often show less mobility than single-rooted teeth with the same amount of bone loss. But the need for treatment is just as important. The more mobile the teeth, the more damage has been done, and the more splinting will be necessary.

The Splinting Procedure
Fixing periodontal disease
The first step in elimination of tooth mobility is to begin to correct the periodontal problem. If the teeth are mobile, the periodontal problem is probably advanced and the corrective measures could be both involved and time-consuming. Splinting may be started immediately. It involves attaching the mobile and perhaps non-mobile teeth together with a wire, acrylic, or a combination of the two. Attaching the teeth together gives them all more strength. Splinting has a limited life expectancy and must be repaired or replaced periodically. There is often a fee separate from the initial splinting fee associated with these procedures. You will be informed as to what your particular condition requires for short- and long-term therapy.

A more extensive form involves splinting the teeth together with cast and cemented restorations - crowns, bridges, bonded metal retainers, etc. This type of splinting will last much longer and is more expensive. The purpose is the same as that of external splinting - to attach the mobile teeth together so that they derive more strength and move less.

Teeth that are splinted will also require different and more involved brushing and flossing on your part. We will demonstrate these procedures for you.

Costs for splinting procedures vary greatly. It will depend on the number of teeth to be splinted, severity of the mobility, prognosis of the teeth, and the type of splinting selected.

If you have any questions about splinting teeth, please feel free to ask us.

1 comment:

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