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Over-the-Counter Night Splints not the Best Option for TMD Clients

Dennis Langton, PT, CCTT

January 15, 2014



What do you think of over-the-counter night splints that are available and allow clients to make them on their own?  Is this a good idea for someone who cannot afford one made by a dentist?


Basically, no.  The problem with the over-the-counter splints is that they are soft splints.  In the process of making them, it requires a client to heat the appliance in boiling water or the microwave.  Then, the client is to bite down on the appliance for a few minutes.  That becomes the model.  The problem is that in biting down, the pressure may be uneven and can place the client in a partially mal-occluded position.  However, the biggest concern is for those who wear them as night guards.  Many people wear night guards because they clench and grind.  The soft splints are really not recommended for those people who grind because it torques the teeth and can impair the ligaments. 

I do not think too much of them for my clients.  They are great for playing sports.  They can also be something a client could wear when awake.  The problem comes when someone wears them when they are sleep.  It is really best to get an acrylic one, because you want the full arch contact and the hard acrylic surface for a night splint.   


dennis langton

Dennis Langton, PT, CCTT

Dennis Langton PT, CCTT is a 1973 graduate of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City Utah.  Dennis began work in both treating and research in Craniomandibular disorders in 1982. He has over 500 hours of advanced training in CMD, has presented over 30 clinical and research papers and taught over 75 post-graduate professional courses in Craniomandibular Disorders both nationally and internationally.  He has participated in more than 175 fresh cadavor dissections of the head, neck and cervical spine and is co-author of a functional anatomy text on the head, neck and temporomandibular joint and contributing author on two textbooks on evaluation and treatment of CMD.

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