Impacting just about anything other than what you intend with your teeth is generally a cause for immediate concern. Why? because it’s usually accompanied by pain and the fair chance that there might be something wrong with your tooth. Especially if the impact was particularly hard, dental emergencies with your teeth can range from a simple chip (which isn’t that big of a deal) to teeth that can be forced every which way.
So you might be wondering, if a tooth is knocked around but not completely out of your mouth, what sort of treatment is available? In many cases, this scenario would be the realm of dental splinting. But first, a word about the two different kinds of “loose teeth”.
First, we have primary occlusal trauma. This happens when excessive force encounters your unfortunate dental structures. However, the important detail here is that the force is a “parafunctional force”. This means the force is one that your mouth wouldn’t expect from within. It is an impact outside the normal range of force your body would encounter in your day to day life, like chewing or clenching your teeth at night.
Next, there’s secondary occlusual trauma. This refers to damage that occurs as a result of your normal biting forces, on a tooth that’s been undermined by some sort of damage to either your gums or the underlying bone.
This is to say, while your teeth can become loosened over time by the natural force of unchecked decay and lack of care — in the event that you are the victim of outside forces impacting your mouth (primary occlusal trauma), the circumstances are a bit different.
How your dentist fixes loose teeth by splinting
One common occurrence in our Garden Grove emergency dental office is that of the “tooth that got knocked during a soccer game” (for example). In this case, there is a very good chance that the dentist would elect to splint it, especially if you were able to reach an emergency dentist in time.
In every case, the way the tooth is treated depends on where the damage originated. When the tooth is dislodged, it stresses the periodontal ligament (what your teeth use to stay attached). With a splint, your dentist can mechanically counter-act that force and treat the effects at the same time.
In its most basic form, splinting is an emergency dental treatment that joins teeth together like a freshly sealed and polished summer deck. Using tiny little posts, splints distribute the load evenly to protect, re-position, and promote healing.
Temporary splinting is often accomplished with splints either inside or outside your tooth’s crown. Extra-coronal splints are splints that are applied on the outside of the tooth’s crown. Intra-coronal splints are installed into a tiny channel that’s cut into your tooth. With either approach, the splint is bonded or cemented in place to make the teeth more stable and rigid.
Permanent splinting is a bit different. It uses a dental crown to cover the affected tooth alongside a splint that is secured to the other crowns, effectively and permanently keeping the tooth in place.
Have you experienced a dental emergency?
When it comes to fixing loose teeth, the above is only scratching the surface. For every patient, treatment of loose teeth will be just a little different. This is meant to give you an idea of what’s capable and maybe what to expect. If you’ve suffered a dental injury in or near Garden Grove, California and don’t know what to do – we’re here to help. Get in touch today to learn more.