An occlusal splint can be used to test a therapeutic position before any definitive occlusal change, like a modification of vertical dimension or the creation of a mandibular anteposition. An occlusal splint can be used for protecting teeth or prosthetic restorations against sleep pressures. But an occlusal splint is mainly used for therapeutic means. Its principle use is to prevent the patient from finding his usual occlusion of maximal intercuspal position (ICP) and to oblige him to place his mandible in a new posture, thus, resulting in a new muscular and articular balance. The patient, disturbed in his habits, will not tighten his teeth any more, like before. He will change his clenching habits and then he will not tighten any more, he will protect his teeth and his temporomandibular joint. Thus, Ekberg validated the effect of the flat-smooth occlusal splint on muscular conditioning, resulting in the resolution of muscular contractions, in a randomized and controlled study on 60 patients. In contrast, Greene and Laskin affirmed, as early as in 1972, the importance of neurophysiological feelings and psychology in the development of the TMD and the therapy that comes from taking care of the patient. The uselessness of the occlusal splint could be deduced from this or, at least, the need for it to be discussed. One argument against this imposes itself immediately as the use of the occlusal splint means treatment that reinforces the psychological effect of “care management”.
(Re et al., The occlusal splint therapy, J. Stomat. Occ. Med. (2009) 2: 1–5)