Occlusal Splints

Aim

To create neuromuscular harmony in the masticatory system and reduce parafunctional forces.

Treatment Objectives

  • allow the condyle to seat in centric relation
  • provide diagnostic information – if a patient quickly becomes comfortable wearing a splint, then the disorder may indicate a muscular problem. If the symptoms get worse with splint wear, there may be an internal derangement (disc) problem
  • interrupt periodontal ligament proprioception
  • alleviate the pain of many types of temporomandibular disorders and bruxism

Benefits    

  • Adjustable as treatment progresses
  • Assist resolution of pain and symptoms

Considerations   

  • Tooth interferences to the centric relation arc of closure hyperactivate the lateral pterygoids. The elimination of posterior excursive contacts by anterior guidance significantly reduces elevator muscle hyperactivity
  • When a splint has bilateral contacts on all the teeth with immediate posterior disclusion by the anterior teeth and condylar guidance in all movements, then elevator and positioning muscles will relax
  • Occlusal splints reversibly alter the occlusion by reducing muscle activity


Types of Occlusal Splints

  Flat Plane Michigan NTI-TSS® Gelb
Comfort ✓  ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ 
small
✓ ✓ 
(lingual bars – more tongue space)
Longevity ✓ ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ 
Anterior Deprogramming limited ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓  limited
Term of Use any any short any
Material Options hard/soft
hard
soft
hard/soft
hard
soft
hard/soft generally hard
Cushion Splint ✓  ✓  limited limited
Ease of Fit easy for elastomer and hard/soft
harder for all hard
easy for elastomer and hard/soft easy medium

 

Material Selection for Occlusal Splints

Type Hard Hard/Soft Elastomer
Comfort ✓  ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ 
Longevity ✓ ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ 
Cost ✓  ✓  ✓ ✓ 
Ease of Fit ✓  ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ (easiest)
Cushioning ✓  ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ 
Staining ✓  ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ 
Effectiveness ✓ ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓  ✓ ✓ ✓ 
Ability to be Repaired ✓ ✓  limited limited

Material Safety Data Sheets