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Proof of Concept Study of an Oral Orthotic in Reducing Tic Severity in Tourette Syndrome


The use of an oral orthotic, called an occlusal splint, has gained recognition for the potential to reduce the frequency of tics for individuals with Persistent Tic Disorders. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of a fully blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the safety, tolerability and initial efficacy of the oral orthotic in youth with chronic tics. Thirteen youth were randomly assigned to wear an active or sham orthotic in a two week double-blind RCT, with a 4–6 week unblinded follow up period. A statistically significant difference was found for change in tic severity between participants wearing the active and sham orthotic. However, this difference was not replicated during the follow up period. The oral orthotic is a promising intervention for the reduction of tics in youth with Tourette’s Syndrome and is worthy of continued study to establish intervention efficacy and mechanism of action.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Alex Keller, M.A., Lucia Haladjian, M.A., Alexandra Kushman, M.A., Michelle Pelcovitz, PhD, Corinne Catarozoli, PhD, & Paul Sullivan, PhD for their assistance with data collection, and the Tourette Association of America for funding this study.


Tourette Association of America.

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Correspondence to Shannon M. Bennett.

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Shannon Bennett, Ph.D. has received research support, speaking fees and travel support for speaking engagements from the Tourette Association of America. Dr. Bennett receives royalties from Wolters Kluwer for an UpToDate entry on child Anxiety Disorders. Jeffrey S. Hindin, DDS, Justin Mohatt, MD, Christopher Bauer, MA, Jennifer Schild, BS, and Avital Falk, PhD, has nothing to disclose. Matthew Specht, PhD has received research support, speaking fees and travel support for speaking engagements from the Tourette Association of America. Douglas Woods, Ph.D. receives royalties from Oxford University Press, Springer Press, and Guilford Press, and has received grant or research support from the NIMH and the Tourette Association of America. He has received speaking fees and/or travel support from the Tourette Association of America. John Walkup, M.D. has received past research support from the National Institute of Mental Health for federally funded studies including free drug and placebo from Pfizer in 2007 to support the Child Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal study; free medication from Abbott in 2005 for the Treatment of the Early Age Media study; free drug and placebo from Eli Lilly and Co. in 2003 for the Treatment of Adolescents with Depression study. He currently receives research support from the Tourette Association of America and The Hartwell Foundation. He has received honoraria and travel expenses for speaking engagements and meetings sponsored by the Tourette Association of America. He has received royalties from Guilford Press and Oxford University Press for multi‐author books published about Tourette syndrome and from Wolters Kluwer for CME activity on childhood anxiety. Dr. Walkup has served as an unpaid advisor to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and the Trichotillomania Learning Center. He has served as a paid speaker for the Tourette Syndrome ‐ Center for Disease Control and Prevention outreach educational programs, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association.

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Bennett, S.M., Hindin, J.S., Mohatt, J. et al. Proof of Concept Study of an Oral Orthotic in Reducing Tic Severity in Tourette Syndrome. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2021).

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  • Tourette syndrome
  • Occlusal splint
  • Intervention
  • Tic disorders