The use of occlusal splints in the management of temporo­mandibular disorder

Authors: Andreea Kui1, Smaranda Buduru1,3, Simona Iacob1, Manuela Manziuc1, Loredana Mitariu2, Marius Negucioiu1



1Department of Prosthodontics, “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca

2Department of Dental Morphology, “Lucian Blaga” University, Sibiu

3Stomestet Dental Clinic, Cluj-Napoca, Romania



Background. Treatment options in cases of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) include occlusal adjustment, drug ther­apy, occlusal splint therapy, physiotherapy, reassurance, or even surgical in-terventions or combined treatments. Occlusal splints represent a removable artificial device applied on the occlusal surface, used either for diagnosis or for treatment, in order to alter the relationship of the mandible to the upper jaw. It is widely accepted that occlusal splints provide occlusal disen-gagement, masticatory muscle relaxation, unloading and repositioning of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and modification of the vertical dimension of occlusion (VDO). As TMD exhibits muscular symptoms, a correct redistribution of occlusal forces through the occlusal appliances will produce muscle relaxation, in different areas; splint therapy produces a complete disengagement of the arches, eliminating interferences and premature contacts, and this will improve motor activity and overall muscle tone, improving sports performance.

Aims. The purpose of this study was that, indicated according to the diagnosis, each type of occlusal splint can be effective in reducing the symptoms of TMD.

Methods. This retrospective observational study included 41 patients, examined, diagnosed and treated between 2018 and 2019. The data was collected from the medical charts. All the sub-jects were diagnosed with either intraarticular TMD or extraarticular TMD and distributed in one out of three groups – for each group of subjects a different occlusal splint was indicated – Michigan splint, a hydrostatic appliance and Jeanmonod anterior bite plane.

Results. The results confirmed the hypothesis, as all three occlusal appliances were effec-tive, but with no significant dif­ference among the three groups of subjects. In other words, each splint used in the therapy accomplished its purpose, but the statistical analysis revealed no signifi-cant difference between each splint’s capabilities of treatment as long they are indicated according to the type of TMD.

Conclusions. Taking into consideration the limitations of this study we can conclude that, if indicated correctly, splint therapy is an effective method to reduce the specific symptoms encoun-tered in patients with TMD.


Key words: temporomandibular disorders, occlusal splints, hydrostatic appliance





The use of occlusal splints in the management of temporo­mandibular disorder