The TMJ Association – Occlusal Bite Splints: A Help For Many But Not Everyone
(…) The decision of whether a bite splint is a sensible treatment in your particular case is a clinical judgment call rather than a decision that is based on sound, scientifically validated criteria.
If you opt for a bite splint, you should be aware of the fact that not all bite splints are equal. Two major types are distinguished, namely (1) those that maintain the existing jaw relationship, and (2) those whose purpose is to intentionally alter the existing bite for a particular therapeutic intent, such as “capturing the articular disk” or “the realignment of the condyle in the articular fossa”. Occlusal appliances of the first group are also referred to as “stabilization” splints and members of the second group are often called “repositioning” appliances. Neither design has been proven to be incrementally superior over the other with any consistency as far as benefit for the patient is concerned. In terms of negative consequences, however, splints of the second group pose a substantially greater risk of inducing bite changes. When worn for months to years, the resulting bite changes often call for costly bite repair by means of new dental work, orthodontic treatment or even jaw surgery. (…)