Pushing the envelope

dentist in chair

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ll immediately understand that I’m really committed to conserving teeth. As many real estate agents will tell you about land: “God’s not making any more”. For each person, this is true of teeth.

If you’re not getting any more teeth, it makes perfect sense to be extremely conservative with what you’ve got. Conserving tooth structure ensures that the tooth (or remaining tooth structure) is the strongest it can be to support whatever restoration is to be placed. The more tooth structure you cut away, the more you weaken the foundation for whatever restoration is placed on or in the tooth.

This gets tricky when teeth are missing. Every time you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth bear an increased load – just like the brick piers under a house – each time one of the brick piers crumbles (and is not replaced) – the remaining piers bear an increased load. Take out too many piers, and suddenly, the roof starts to leak, doors in the house won’t open and

close properly, and the floor becomes crooked.

Frequently, I see people who have already lost many teeth but still want a restorative solution. Unfortunately, they exhibit all the dental hallmarks of the house with a leaky roof and crooked floors. Yes, implants are a possible solution. But very expensive. In these instances, I endeavour to salvage what teeth are left – as well as replacing some missing teeth – by using an age-old remedy: Splinting.

By splinting two, four, five, or even six teeth together, we increase the strength of the system by virtue of support. Just like a line of people – it’s easy to walk past and push one of the people out of line. But if the line of people lock arms – it’s a different story.

If you’ve got loose teeth or teeth that you think would benefit from support – maybe splinting the tooth to a buddy is the kind of support your toothy-peg needs.

This article was originally published here at intouch Magazine.


Alex has had a career focused on low-biologic cost reconstructive cosmetic dental care – common sense teeth for life. Alex services clients in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland areas.

For more information about our treatments or to book an appointment please don’t hesitate to call us on (02) 4946 9122