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Mouth guards are a common device to help patients suffering from sleep bruxism. (Photograph: Sakuoka/Shutterstock)
1 Comment Apr 21, 2015 | News Europe

Irish researchers invent intelligent bruxism appliance

Post a comment by Dental Tribune International

DUBLIN, Ireland: Bruxism is a dental condition that affects up to a billion people and one in five adults worldwide and can cause severe damage to the dentition and dental restorations. As most bruxism patients grind their teeth during sleep, the condition is difficult to diagnose. A team of Irish researchers has now developed a new technology called SmartSplint to detect and monitor sleep bruxism, enabling dentists to better understand and treat the condition.

The intelligent bruxism appliance SmartSplint was developed by SelfSense Technologies, a spin-off of the Trinity College Dublin. The company was initiated by Dr Padraig McAuliffe and Prof. Brian O’Connell from the Dublin Dental University Hospital and Dr Ramesh Babu and Dr James Doyle from AMBER, a materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin and funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

“As a dentist, it can be very difficult to know whether an individual patient has bruxism until we see that some damage has been done. By then it is too late. Early diagnosis and prevention of damage are key. We developed SmartSplint because there were no bruxism tests available that we considered suitable or practical for widespread use at an affordable price. The success of treatment for tooth decay and gum disease was revolutionised by the development of simple tests and we hope that SmartSplint can do the same for bruxism,” said McAuliffe.

The nightly grinding of teeth goes far beyond that of a minor inconvenience. The bite force on the posterior teeth during grinding can reach up to 100 kg for up to 30 minutes a night. Thus, the chronic condition can lead to severe facial pain and headaches, dental wear and damage to dental restorations, such as crowns, veneers and implants.

The cost of repairing teeth damaged by bruxism can be substantial over time, but can be greatly reduced by wearing a mouth guard. Unfortunately, because bruxism mainly occurs at night, many patients are not aware of it, the researchers stated. Moreover, some do not use their mouth guard appropriately and the tooth damage and long‐term repair costs continue to mount.

The SmartSplint novel mouth guard contains integrated sensors that measure the patient’s tooth-grinding force during sleep, thus helping to diagnose and monitor bruxism. The personalised data collected by the sensors is sent to a mobile application, as well as a website, where the dentist and the patient can view the individual grinding profile. According to the researchers, this will help patients to understand their condition better and their dentists to manage it more effectively.

SelfSense Technologies has recently licensed its novel sensor technology. The company plans to launch SmartSplint in Ireland in autumn. It will be available in dental practices internationally in 2016.

Further information about SmartSplint can be found at www.selfsense.ie.

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1 Comment
  • Lance Videtzky Cape Town South Africa Apr 24, 2015 | 9:26:41 AM

    Can I use this method and materials in my practice ,if so when and at what cost?

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