SPLINTING


The ligating , tying, or joining of mobile teeth to one another in order to stabilize and immobilize the affected teeth. Mobile lower anterior teeth is a common complaint of dental patients with fairly advanced gum disease. The treating of these mobile teeth is often not very successful. The mobility is caused by a loss of supporting bone around the roots of the teeth. Even comprehensive treatment can not replace this missing bone and the prognosis for these teeth is poor. In the majority of cases the lower four incisors (the four teeth between the two lower canine teeth) are the teeth showing the first signs of mobility.

What treatment options are available for mobile teeth?

The most logical way to treat the mobility once the active gum disease is under control would be to splint these mobile teeth. Various methods of splinting are employed by dentists. The most frequently used technique is to use orthodontic stainless steel wire, bonded on to the lingual surface (or inside) of the teeth with composite (white filling material) which acts as a splint. This method has some success but the metal wire is quite rigid. There can be aesthetic compromises with this technique, but the concept is good and these splints are an option if nothing better is available.

What are other treatment options available to these patients in need of periodontal splinting?

The other options are mostly quite invasive and non-reversible. They can involve:

1. The extraction of the mobile teeth, and replacing the extracted teeth with a removable partial denture or fixed partial denture.
2. Cast precious metal splints.
3. Extractions of the mobile teeth and replacement with dental implants. This may not be possible as these may require expensive and technique sensitive bone grafting procedures to provide a bony foundation for the implants as bone is lost in the gum disease.