Splinting Teeth

What is “teeth splinting?”

Teeth splinting is a procedure where teeth are connected together with a material which keeps them stable, minimizing any possible movement.

One reason for its use is for loose teeth caused by trauma.  These teeth can be connected by placing wires on the teeth, or bonding filling material between the teeth, or bonding a tooth colored material that looks like a wire and functions in a similar way.

Patients can also have advanced periodontal disease that makes the teeth loose. When these are bonded together, the increase strength will give the patient a longer period of time before he has to confront the reality that some of the teeth must be extracted and some form of prosthetic must be fabricated to replace those teeth. Most often these are the lower front teeth where bone is lost, the roots are not very long, and there is not enough of the root in the bone to make a stable, mobility free situation.

On occasion, if one of the lower front teeth gets too lose or needs to be extracted for other reasons (like a failed root canal or a tooth fracture), the tooth can be extracted, the root shaped and then splinted into position for use. The patient can use this while the area heals and an implant is placed in the area, or for some it can be a longer term option. This choice is much more comfortable than having an appliance to take in and out or for going without a front tooth for a long period of time.

If a person needs dental crowns but the bone level is compromised, the crowns can be splinted together (connected as one piece) and provide the support so there is less mobility.

One other note on splints: the home care is much more difficult. Floss will no longer go between the teeth because of the splint. Then the area at the gum line must be cleaned in the space at the gum area. After brushing, a small pick can be placed in the space to clean the gum area. A tufted floss product can also be put through each space, but that will take longer. The key is to keep that area pristine to preserve the small amount of bone that is remaining.