Occlusal splints and quality of life - does the patient-provider relationship matter?

Oral Health Prev Dent. 2014;12(3):249-58. doi: 10.3290/j.ohpd.a32131.


Purpose: Occlusal splints are often prescribed when treating patients with bruxism. The objectives were to determine (a) whether using occlusal splints improves patients' oral health-related quality of life (ohrqol) and (b) whether the quality of the patient-provider relationship affects these patients' splint-related responses and their ohrqol.

Materials and methods: Survey data were collected from 233 patients who had received bite splints during the 5 years prior to data collection.

Results: The data showed that 5% of these patients had never used their splint, 20% had used it in the past, and 75% still used it at the time of data collection. Patients using the splint agreed more strongly that their current oral health status had improved, had more positive splint-related responses and more positive pain-related ohrqol scores than patients who were no longer using the splint. The more patients agreed that they were satisfied with their provider, the more positively they evaluated their bite splints and the more positive was their ohrqol.

Conclusions: Bite splint users have more positive splint-related responses and a better pain-related ohrqol than patients who received a bite splint but do not use it any longer. The quality of the patient-provider relationship plays an important role in the patients' splint-related responses as well as in the degree to which patients' ohrqol improves.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Bruxism / psychology
  • Bruxism / therapy
  • Communication
  • Dentist-Patient Relations*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Headache / psychology
  • Headache / therapy
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occlusal Splints*
  • Oral Health
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*
  • Young Adult