Splinting is a technique that we use to stabilize teeth which have become loose as a result of losing the supporting bone around them to periodontal disease, a condition known as secondary occlusal trauma. Frequently the problem is complicated by heavy bite stress.
We do two basic types of periodontal splinting, with some variation. The first is "extra-coronal splinting", in which we bond a stabilizing wire, fiber-reinforced ribbon, or similar stabilization device to the outsides of the teeth like a fixed orthodontic retainer. The second is "intra-coronal splinting", in which we mill a slot into the affected teeth, and insert the stabilizing device into the slot and bond it in place. This can make the splint less visible, but accomplishes the same goal of immobilizing the teeth.
We can tell you if your teeth are mobile enough to require splinting. Usually if the teeth have lost more than 40% of the supporting alveolar bone around them, a diagnosis of severe periodontal disease is made. Most often, teeth that are mobile (loose) enough to require splinting have that diagnosis. However, if the tooth roots are abnormally short or thin, or if the bone around them is not particularly dense, the teeth may be loose when less than 40% of the volume has been lost.