This randomised controlled study investigated the effect of intermittent use of occlusal splints on sleep bruxism compared with that of continuous use by measuring masseter muscle electromyographic activity using a portable electromyographic recording system. Twenty bruxers were randomly allocated to the continuous group and intermittent group. Subjects in the continuous group wore stabilisation splints during sleep for 29 nights continuously, whereas those in the intermittent group wore splints during sleep every other week, that is they used splints on the 1st-7th, 15th-21st and 29th nights. Electromyographic activity of the masseter muscle during sleep was recorded for the following six time points: before (baseline), immediately after, and 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks after the insertion of a stabilisation splint. The number of nocturnal masseter electromyographic events, duration and the total activity of sleep bruxism were analysed. In the continuous group, nocturnal masseter electromyographic events were significantly reduced immediately and 1 week after the insertion of the stabilisation splint, and duration was reduced immediately after the insertion (P < 0·05, Dunnett's test), but no reduction was observed at 2, 3 and 4 weeks after insertion. In the intermittent group, nocturnal masseter electromyographic events and duration were significantly reduced immediately after and also 4 weeks after insertion of the stabilisation splint (P < 0·05, Dunnett's test). The obtained results of the present exploratory trial indicate that the intermittent use of stabilisation splints may reduce sleep bruxism activity for a longer period compared with that of continuous use.
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