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Article: Dental Splinting to Save Loose Teeth DR. JERRY GORDON
In some cases, loose teeth are good candidates for a procedure known as

One common question from people who have loose teeth is "Can anything be done to tighten them?" Loose teeth can make eating uncomfortable, as biting pressure can cause the teeth to move and pull away from the gum. Healthy teeth are normally fastened tightly into the jawbone by their roots and the routine forces of biting and chewing food will not budge them. Trauma to the teeth and the progression of advanced periodontal (gum) disease are common culprits that can cause teeth to become loose.

Loose teeth caused by gum disease (the most common cause) can be remedied in a number of different ways. The initial step is to always treat the underlying gum disease. This often involves removing the bacterial plaque with a procedure called quadrant scaling. If the disease is advanced, a surgical flap procedure may be needed to adequately treat the gums. Teeth that are very loose will need to be extracted, and can then be replaced by dental implants, fixed bridgework, or removable full or partial dentures.

In some cases, loose teeth are good candidates for a procedure known as "splinting". When teeth are splinted, they are joined together to increase their strength. For example, the teeth on the bottom jaw in the front of the mouth are common targets for gum disease. If two or three of those teeth become loose, they can be joined to surrounding teeth that are more stable. One common technique uses the white, resin filling material to bond the teeth together for the splint. Once the teeth are splinted, they are much more stable, and eating can become comfortable again.

After the teeth are splinted, the will require preventive maintenance. Careful brushing is of the utmost importance, and a device called a proxy brush (or other similar device) will be needed to clean between the teeth because floss will not be able to penetrate the splint. Regular dental visits, every three to six months are required to maintain the splint and insure proper dental care.

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Dr. Gordon is the dental columnist for the Bucks County Courier Times. He has published more than 300 articles since 1998. Dr. Gordon was recently asked to provide commentary about mid-level providers for the influential dental journal Dental Abstracts.

Dr. Gordon responds to an article in Dental Abstracts challenging his views.

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