Can Your Problematic Teeth Benefit From a Splint?
You probably think of a splint as something that a doctor might use when a part of your body needs to stay in a defined position in order to aid its healing, whether it's a finger, an arm or a leg. But what about your teeth? When a tooth has been lost due to periodontal disease, it's gone forever. Certainly, your dentist can replace the tooth with a specially fabricated dental implant, designed to look and behave just like the tooth it has replaced. But this might not be the end of the process.
If the tooth has been missing for an extended period of time, bone loss might be an issue. This occurs when your jaw bone no longer needs to support the tooth, and so decreases in mass. This can affect your other teeth. This additional space in your mouth, coupled with the loss of the tooth, can destabilise your remaining teeth, causing them to shift in position, perhaps even to become loose. A periodontal splint can help to stabilise these teeth.
Types of Splint
There are two primary types of periodontal splints, and the best choice depends on your particular circumstances.
A extracoronal splint is when your teeth are essentially fastened together using a wire or type of ribbon, holding them into the appropriate position and giving that much-needed stability. This type of splint is more common when the problem requires treatment but is not as severe as it could have been (which can depend on how long it has taken you to seek treatment).
An intracoronal splint works on the same principle, wherein your teeth are fastened together. It's a method that is beneficial when the destabilisation is pronounced. Small ridges are actually made in key teeth, and the stabilisation device is overlaid into these ridges and secured into position, holding the teeth in place.
Whether it's an extracoronal or intracoronal splint, the materials are generally made to resemble the colour of your teeth, making them difficult to see.
Getting Used to a Splint
Becoming accustomed to a periodontal splint is relatively straightforward. You will certainly be aware of the device, since your tongue will brush up against it when you speak or eat. But this is a sensation you will quickly become used to. Proper dental hygiene becomes even more important with a periodontal splint, as it's possible for miniscule amounts of food debris to become lodged under the splint. Your dentist might recommend regular usage of a mouthwash after each time you consume food.
So while a splint might be more common with other parts of your anatomy, it might also help to stave off further damage to your teeth.