At least one out of every five people in the U.S. suffer from bruxism. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to grinding your teeth together, especially while you’re sleeping. It’s a major problem for some people, with secondary side effects ranging from insomnia, headaches, and muscle soreness. And then of course there is the damage to the teeth, which can lead to expensive repairs. The kicker is that many people aren’t even aware that they do it.
An associate professor at the University of Florida has come up with a way to detect and diagnose teeth grinding that is more convenient and comfortable than having to spend the night in a sleep clinic. His solution is to put pressure sensors in a mouth guard that you wear while you sleep, and the device will wirelessly transmit data to a computer or smartphone. It can then be forwarded for storage and analysis, so that a dentist or orthodontist can diagnose the problem and come up with a treatment.
The device could also trigger feedback to help the patient change behavior patterns to reduce or eliminate the grinding. The system costs far less than the typical clinical observation procedures, and is more convenient. The design came in second in an international competition this year. No plans have been announced yet for commercial production of the device.