Article: Volume 45 Number 10 Page 912 - November 2018

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  Dent Update 2018; 45: 912-918

Restorative dentistry:  Occlusal Splints for Bruxing and TMD – A Balanced Approach?

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Abstract: Occlusal splints are classified in this article into three groups according to the way that opposing teeth contact the splint: 1) partial occlusal contact; 2) full occlusal contact in retruded arc of closure; and 3) full occlusal contact in protrusion. Each type of splint has relative advantages and disadvantages. Splints do not reliably or predictably reduce bruxism and there are differences between individuals in their response to the wearing of splints. When treating temporomandibular disorders, splints should be provided as part of a package of conservative physiotherapy type measures. There is no evidence that any one type of splint is most effective. Long-term wearing of designs that may lead to permanent occlusal changes should be avoided or the patient should be carefully monitored for occlusal changes.

Clinical relevance: The article describes the effect of splints on bruxism. Advice is provided on best practice in respect of the use of splints in the management of temporomandibular disorders.

Author notes: Robert Jagger, BDS, MScD, FDS RCS, Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Bristol Dental Hospital, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BS1 2LY and Elizabeth King, BDS, MSc, MFDS RCS, Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Morriston Hospital, Morriston, Swansea, SA6 6NL, UK.

Objective: To describe different types of occlusal splints and the ways that splints should be used in the management of bruxism and temporomandibular disorders.


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