One of the most common tools used in reconstructive dentistry is the the dental splint. If your tooth has been loosened or even knocked out completely (avulsed) because of trauma, a dental splint is used to stabilize it while it heals. But how long will you have to wear your dental splint to help the tooth heal? Normally, you will wear the splint for 14 days, but in some cases it may take longer.
Short Term Splinting Is Highly Effective
It may seem that 14 days is not enough time for a knocked-out tooth to heal, but studies have shown that this short-term splinting is very effective. Short-term splinting allows the gums to heal around your tooth and allows the body to secure the tooth back in its socket.
A knocked-out tooth can heal much more quickly than a dental implant. A dental implant is a foreign element that has to be inserted into the bone, while the natural tooth is just restored to its natural position. For a dental implant to get secured the bone has to grow around it. For a knocked-out tooth to get secured, it only requires regrowth of the periodontal ligaments. These soft tissues heal faster than bone. The gums may still be tender after this time, but they will continue to heal if the tooth is in place.
What If Splinting Doesn’t Work?
If your tooth has been knocked out, splinting will usually help it heal back in place if you got to the dentist quickly. But if it doesn’t work, reconstructive dentistry has many other approaches to repair your smile.
If your tooth heals back in place, but the pulp dies, often resulting in discoloration of the tooth, a root canal is used to make sure the tooth doesn’t become infected.
If the tooth doesn’t heal back in place, we can use a dental implant to replace the tooth. Sometimes, the tooth may seem to heal, but it can experience problems months or years later, such as resorption (removal) of the tooth root. We can treat these problems as they arise.