The immediate effect of hard and soft splints on the EMG activity of the masseter and temporalis muscles

F. A. M. Al Quran, M. F. Lyons

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    The aim of this study was to compare the effects of hard and soft splints on the activity of the anterior temporalis and masseter muscles. Surface EMG recordings were made from these muscles during clenching at 10% of maximum, 50% of maximum and at maximum clench, both before and after insertion of a hard splint. This sequence was then repeated with a soft splint. The relative level of activity in the anterior temporalis and masseter muscles at all three activity levels was quantified by means of an Activity Index, which provides a measure of the balance of activity in the masseter relative to the activity in the anterior temporalis muscle. It was found that hard splints led to a decrease in EMG activity in relation to activity with no splint in both muscles at maximum clench and particularly the anterior temporalis. Soft splints produced a slight increase in activity of both muscles, but particularly the masseter muscle. The Activity Index indicated a shift in the balance of activity away from the anterior temporalis muscles with both splints, particularly at 10% of the maximum clenching level. It is possible that the decrease in activity of the temporalis muscles relative to the masseter muscles may be a factor in the therapeutic effect of both a hard and a soft splint, although the decrease is clearly greater with the hard splint.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)559-563
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

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