Connected Mouth Guard: Tackling Bruxism With IoT

Teeth Grinding and IoT

Bruxism is an occurrence during sleep in which someone grinds or clench their teeth. This can cause disruptions in sleep quality and also the has the potential to destroy teeth. According to the American Sleep Association, 10% of adults and 15% of children suffer from bruxism.

Historically, there has not been a single scientifically valid way for dentists to diagnose and manage bruxism.  Meaning that there was no way to check the severity of the grinding or where in the mouth the bruxism is focused. Even if the dentists made the patient wear a splint (like the one pictured below), there was no way to check if they were actually using it.

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Typical mouth guard that has historically been given to bruxism sufferers.

A team of Irish researchers has created a smart device which they believe can help dentists to effectively diagnose and combat the problem. The solution proposed is a mouth guard that determines if the user is grinding their teeth at night and then that information to your dentist and your smartphone. The device, developed by Dublin-based startup Selfsense Technology, is named Smart Splints and each guard is customized to every patient’s teeth. The patient wears the splint every night in the same way they would wear a standard mouth guard offered by a dentist. Tiny sensors within the device measure teeth-grinding and the data is sent to the dentist and patient via an app.

Technology Utilized 

  1. Dental Splint – The mouth guard itself is not so different from a traditional dental splint. However, it is customized to fit the wearer’s mouth. When sourcing high-quality rubber for medical applications such as these, refer to top-tier suppliers such as Kingley.
  2. Pressure Sensors – The SmartSplint device uses tiny pressure sensors to detect teeth movements.  For dental applications, it’s important to work with reliable sensor suppliers with certifiable experience, particular examples are AdvanPro and Uneo.

The data is collected and sent to the cloud in the morning. Selfsense Technologies are able to analyze the data through their algorithm and the data is presented to the user in a friendly format via a sleek user interface.

how-it-works

Results

The main advantage of this device is that it gets results without impeding too much on the wearer’s everyday life.  In an interview for the Irish Times, Dr. McAuliffe, of the Irish Times explained this further “With a normal splint, you’re supposed to use it indefinitely. With a smart splint, you wear it for the right amount of time. If it’s a short time, you have information to back it up. If it’s a long time, you see the real need to stay engaged. Because bruxism mainly occurs at night, many patients don’t realize they are grinding”.

More than half of wearers of traditional splints stop wearing them after a year because they don’t see evidence that they are actually grinding their teeth. With the smart mouth guard, there is a greater chance that people will wear it because they can see the evidence the next day on their phone.  The data that comes back is also of real value to dentists, who can harness the data to make better judgments for their patients.


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