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New mouthguard for detection and treatment of bruxism

Researchers from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid are working on the development of a mouthguard prototype for the evaluation and diagnosis of bruxism and its characteristic gnashing of teeth.

Bruxism is a parafunctional activity caused by the excessive activation of a reflex chewing action during sleep, with the effect of grinding teeth or clenching the jaw. It causes premature wear of the teeth along with a noise that can be loud enough to disturb the sleep of some one sharing the bedroom.

The constant and prolonged tension on the jaw can cause headaches, earaches, damage to muscles, teeth, and circumjacent tissues, or structures like the mandibular articulations. All of these symptoms are encompassed under the umbrella term Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). Bruxism, affecting around 25% to 30% of the population, and being more frequent in children, is a subject of great interest at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid where a research team is currently working with real patients on the design, development, manufacture, fine-tuning and testing of prototype mouth guards filled with sensors to detect and treat bruxism.

The research team is formed of participating engineering specialists from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales, the Escuela Universitaria de Ingeniería Técnica Industrial, and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, all working in collaboration with the company “Ibex Estética Dental”.

Wireless transmission to alert the patient
The mouth guard device works by transmitting a wireless signal to portable electronic devices capable of collecting frequency, duration and intensity data of the events for further qualitative and quantitative diagnosing of the patient, as well as alerting them of their behaviour when required, so they are aware and able to stop the prejudicial bruxism.
Therapeutic use
Once the project is finalised, the mouthguard will be used mainly therapeutically to eliminate bruxism along with the symptoms it causes, including dental deterioration, muscle pains and headaches. The researchers intend to use the data collated not only for diagnostic purposes, but also as evaluation aids for a patient’s response to treatment and their evolution.

Ciencia y Sociedad | alfa
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