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Mouth guards protect against orofacial and dental injuries in sports. However, special fitted dental splints have been claimed to improve strength and speed and, therefore, to enhance athletic performance.
To test the effects of a neuromuscular fitted dental splint in comparison with a habitual verticalizing splint and a no-splint condition on cycling sprint performance in the Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT).
Twenty-three men (26.0 ± 2.0 y, 1.82 ± 0.06 m, 79.4 ± 7.7 kg) performed 3 WAnTs, 1 with the neuromuscular fitted splint, 1 with a habitual verticalized dental splint of the same height and material, and 1 under control conditions without any mouth guard, in randomized order separated by 1 wk.
No differences between any splint conditions were found in any aspect of WAnT performance (time to peak power, peak power, minimum power, power drop, and average power). Moderate to nearly perfect correlations between all splint conditions in all WAnT outcomes with coefficients of variation between 1.3% and 6.6% were found.
Irrespective of habitual verticalization or myocentric positioning, dental splints have no effects on any aspect of WAnT performance. Results are comparable to those of test–retest experiments.
Fischer and Beneke are with Inst of Sport Science and Motology, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany. Weber is with the School of Dental Medicine, University Clinic Gießen and Marburg, Standort Marburg, Germany.