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Michigan Splints Are Overrated [Splintember] – PDP040

Michigan Splints AKA Stabilization Splints are the ‘gold standard’ occlusal splint according to many occlusal camps.

Check out the Youtube channel for video versions of the podcast. At 10 minute mark there is an error – I showed a Facebow being used whilst talking about Leaf Gauges.

Dental School told me that this Splint is the only one I will need to know and it will cure all. If this does not work…maybe the patient has ‘atypical facial pain’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now before you all attack me…. I have to confess. It is actually a great all-rounder splint – but there are some key reasons why Michigan appliances (or Tanner for the lower) is massively overrated!

Listen to this episode as I cover:

  • What is a Michigan splint?
  • How does this splint work?
  • What records do you need for a Michigan splint?
  • Do you need a Facebow?
  • What are the limitations of Michigan occlusal splints?
  • Why might other splints be better for many scenarios?
  • Why you should be careful prescribing Michigan splints to primary clenchers

Protrusive Dental Pearls were sent in by fellow listeners regarding patient care and rubber dam hole spacing.

Have you checked out the rest of the episodes from Splintember?

Here is a rough transcript:

Lets face it – Dental school barely scratched the surface in a lot of areas, including Occlusion and splints – so it should come as no surprise to you that Michigans splints are not as great as you were taught they were.

Michigan splints are actually a really good all rounder splint for all the main diagnoses within ‘TMD’ – quite often when I find a tricky case and I am unsure if the issue is more muscle or joint, I will recommend a Michigan – but still, it is a massively overrated appliance and is totally overkill for most of our patients.

Lets start the basics – what is a Michigan splint? It is classically a hard upper splint.
The lower is called a Tanner.


Aka Stabilisation splint.

It’s a centric relation appliance. What does this mean? I explain in the podcast (so listen up!).

I go in to this appliance in a lot more detail and all the shortcomings.

Fellow geeks, to conclude:

It’s a great all rounders splint. And if ever you’re unsure of joint vs muscle diagnosis and you can convince your patient to spend hours in the chair, spend that money and you think they’ll comply, then go for it.

It’s a great splint. But if you’re more concerned that your diagnosis is muscular, or the asymptomatic patient, and perhaps as an appliance to deprogram your patient….there are definitely more efficient ways to deprogram your patient.

And that’s exactly what we’ll talk about at the next episode….stay tuned for the rest of Splintember!

Hosted by
Jaz Gulati

More from this show

Episode 40