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Cranio. 2010 Apr;28(2):128-35.

Side effects of stabilization occlusal splints: a report of three cases and literature review.

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Stomatognathic Department, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, University of the Basque Country.


Stabilization splints are frequently used for the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and bruxism, despite the fact that little is known about their mechanism of action or the precise conditions under which they can be recommended. Moreover, information about their possible adverse effects, which in the majority of cases include occlusal modifications of little clinical relevance, is scarce. On occasions, these splints can provoke severe occlusal alterations and other complications, which are rarely alluded to in the literature. Here presented in this paper are three case reports in which part-time stabilization splints led to irreversible occlusal alterations and a discussion of the relevant clinical implications. Such splints are reported to negatively affect the condyle-disk relation in patients who exhibit disk displacement with reduction and to modify breathing features in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, although further studies are required to unequivocally demonstrate these findings. Finally, the splint seems to modify peripheral information at the level of the Central Nervous System, leading to modifications in corporal postural tone. The clinical repercussions of such alterations are currently poorly understood. It is our hope that future research will throw fresh light on these important topics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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