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Name that switch!

anthonyadams

Feb 22, 2014
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I'm looking for a very particular type of switch and I'm hoping that someone on this forum might be able to make a recommendation. I've been having issues with nighttime bruxism (teeth grinding), so I'd like to build a device that detects when my teeth come together while I'm sleeping. To do this, I need a switch that can be safely and comfortably worn in the mouth. I'm thinking something like a small plastic tube. I know this is a crazy idea, but does anyone have a suggestion?
 

Minder

Apr 24, 2015
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Never heard of a commercial product that does this, but I imagine some kind of load cell device, embedded in something you don't choke on or swallow!!:p
M.
 

hevans1944

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Looks like you (or a friendly dental technician) will have to build one. There is some research being done in this area with force sensors and electromyography. See here for example. Unfortunately, current efforts look more like kludges to me. You might consider using a very small reed switch coupled elastically to an equally small magnet, all embedded in the elastomer mouth piece. It would take some finagling to bias the switch with another permanent magnet so it was just on the verge of actuating and would then close (actuate) when you bit down on the mouth piece. And you would have a thin wire hanging out your mouth to carry the switch signal. You might be able to gin up something wireless, maybe using near-field communication, that would fit inside the appliance along with the reed switch. Good luck with that.
 

Arouse1973

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You could stick several strong magnets to your top and bottom teeth so when your teeth come together they won't come apart again :)

All joking aside I haven't heard of anything either.
Adam
 

hevans1944

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Or NORTH or SOUTH so they don'y come together.:p
That clearly won't work because the lower jaw moves from side to side, destroying the like-pole alignment necessary to keep the teeth repelling each other. You need to also fit an external fixture that keeps the jaw from moving sideways, perhaps secured to the skull with fine-pitched screws to guarantee accurate alignment. You might be able to score a rig at your local B&D equipment emporium.:cool:
 

davenn

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people usually wear mouthguards over teeth for this problem
would definitely be the easiest/safest way to go
 

hevans1944

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... I'm thinking something like a small plastic tube. I know this is a crazy idea, but does anyone have a suggestion?
Not so crazy. You could plug one end of the plastic tube with a stopper (or heat-seal it closed) and attach the other end to an external pneumatic pressure sensor like this one:

showImage.aspx

Above image copied from here.

This isn't a switch. It is a piezo-electric sensor that responds to pressure by providing a 0 to 60 mV output. You will need signal conditioning to bring that small signal up to instrumentation levels (0 to 5 V or thereabouts) for use by an Arduino or a PC for data acquisition. I also have in mind an electro-shock accessory to wake you up when you start grinding your teeth. This accessory can even be pleasurable, depending on where the electrodes are applied. Sweet dreams!
 

hevans1944

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people usually wear mouthguards over teeth for this problem
would definitely be the easiest/safest way to go
The mouth appliances neither diagnose nor provide therapy for the problem. They just prevent the teeth from becoming worn down. With a method to detect and perhaps record when the bruxism occurs, a course of treatment can be monitored to see if the treatment is effective or not. I think most of the research into bruxism uses a modified mouthpiece with contact pressure sensors attached. The idea of using a flexible plastic tube to sense the occurrence of bruxism has merit IMHO.
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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people usually wear mouthguards over teeth for this problem
would definitely be the easiest/safest way to go
I don't grind my teeth OR snore. But I would recommend a mouth piece for husbands who's wives are ANIMATED while snoring..
Dang...:rolleyes:
 

davenn

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The mouth appliances neither diagnose nor provide therapy for the problem.

that's correct ... didn't suggest otherwise ;)

They just prevent the teeth from becoming worn down.

and that's what the OP was aiming at and why I suggested the usual treatment to stop the teeth damage, headaches and other problems caused by the closed jaw pressure

stopping the grinding before it happens requires much more medical work ... working towards stress relief and other issues in a persons life


Dave
 

KJ6EAD

Aug 13, 2011
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Not so crazy. You could plug one end of the plastic tube with a stopper (or heat-seal it closed) and attach the other end to an external pneumatic pressure sensor like this one:

showImage.aspx

Above image copied from here.
That's essentially what the Oral Sensor biofeedback device developed by Kent Anderson (Cycura Corp.) did. There was a molded appliance that acted as the pressure bulb and the feedback was audio. My brother worked on it's development. It was patented and FDA approved but it's no longer on the market.
 

hevans1944

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... and that's what the OP was aiming at ... Dave
Okay, perhaps I misread the OP's intent when he said, "...I'd like to build a device that detects when my teeth come together while I'm sleeping." If not for diagnostic purposes, and perhaps to awaken him (like bed-wetting alarms do) when it senses bruxism occurring, why build such a thing at all? I am sure he is already aware of the mouth appliance.

As you noted, the mouth appliance will prevent harm to the teeth, and it is an easy and safe way to go, but bruxism is not the problem the OP wants to solve. His dentist is already aware that a bruxism problem exists. What is the need to "Name that switch," as the OP titled this thread, if not to detect when bruxism occurs while sleeping? I offered a link to some ways researchers are doing just that, but IMO not very elegantly or unobtrusively. Personally, even if I still had any teeth, I would not want to sleep with a plastic tube hanging out my mouth, or anything else for that matter. The so-called wireless sensors for bruxism literally look like they would be a mouthful and uncomfortable to wear. Hell, my dentures are uncomfortable to wear... so I usually don't wear them. But maybe the OP is becoming desperate for data and would put up with whatever it takes, at least for awhile.

Hop
 
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hevans1944

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That's essentially what the Oral Sensor biofeedback device developed by Kent Anderson (Cycura Corp.) did. There was a molded appliance that acted as the pressure bulb and the feedback was audio. My brother worked on it's development. It was patented and FDA approved but it's no longer on the market.
Now that sounds pretty damn clever! Did the pressure bulb make the audio feedback, sort of like a Whoopie! cushion does when you sit on it? If it is no longer made, I am curious as to why. Not enough market to be profitable? Audible biofeedback didn't help to decrease or eliminate bruxism? What's the back story here? Patents are expensive to obtain and defend. Did someone infringe on the patent and drive the product from the market because of unfair competition? Please tell us more!

Even if the concept is patented, and the patent hasn't expired by now, a clever DIYer with access to dental denture supplies could make a single bio-feedback sensor for their own use. Or draw up plans and work in co-operation with a dentist or dental technician to make one. It should of course to be professionally fitted by a dentist.:D

A hollow, somewhat flexible, mouthguard could have a very small-diameter, hollow, Teflon tube exiting between the lips to a pressure sensor mounted nearby and connected to a data acquisition system or data transmitter worn on the body, similar to a Holter heart monitor.

Hows come the OP hasn't responded to all these wunnerful idears yet?

Hop
 

KJ6EAD

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Here's the patent.

https://www.google.com/patents/US4976618

There are many subsequent patents that cite it. There was a lot of research and product development that followed Kent's work which may have resulted in some other products that were simpler, cheaper or more effective. He put all of his money and more than ten years into the development, patent and FDA process and may have been unable to afford to defend against infringement.

Here's the FDA premarket notification.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfPMN/pmn.cfm?ID=K953257
 
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hevans1944

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That's sad. And the main reason I don't believe in patents as the law is now written. The little guy doesn't stand a chance. And if you DO manage to get a patent, you reveal your "secret" for everyone to see and the crooks will copy it. My preferred method of IP protection is the "trade secret" where you divulge nothing, get your product to market as fast as possible, make whatever profit you can until your IP is stolen, then go on to do something else. Wash, rinse, and repeat. There is always room out there for new ideas, even re-cycled old ideas that can be made "new" again for popular consumption. If I were the OP, I would see if I could modify a commercial appliance to turn it into a pressure transducer. Let whoever thinks they own the patent rights try to find me and prosecute a cease-and-desist order. Those thingamajigs that boxers put in their mouth to protect their teeth are not custom-fitted are they? Maybe one of those could be adapted to serve as a "bite transducer".

Oh, why bother... @anthonyadams appears to have fled the scene.
 

shrtrnd

Jan 15, 2010
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I think me and davenn are techs and therefore think like techs. My thought is that the user use davenn's advice to simply fix the problem.
If on the other hand, the user is thinking live hevans1944, that he intends to study the problem, I was wondering if there might be something like
this commercially available for sports medicine use. I think I'd Google info for that.
You know, some kind of switch or guard sensor that would measure impact when a boxer takes a jab, or an (American) 'football' player who takes an impact
during a tackle hit. Something in the mouth between teeth that measures teeth clenching.
That's my thought.
 

anthonyadams

Feb 22, 2014
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Thanks for all the suggestions (and the laughs!). Sorry about the late response. I wasn't expecting all this great feedback.

Hevans comments are spot on. I'm looking for a way to monitor and record grinding activity. Bruxism is a surprisingly difficult habit to break. As others have said, guards only protect your teeth. The constant jaw activity still causes pain and other unpleasant side effects. Without some way to record jaw activity, it's difficult to gauge whether certain treatments are effective. There is often a delay between a bad night of grinding and the effects.

Hevans idea of using a pressure sensor sounds promising. I'm picturing a small silicone tube that could be worn in a loop around the back of the neck. Mr. Ed style, like a horses bit. Biting on it changes the air pressure in the tube, which changes the output voltage of the sensor.

I've also been experimenting with EMG circuits. With a few electrodes taped to my jaw, I've been able to measure muscle activity. This approach is less intrusive than having something in your mouth, but it comes with a different set of challenges. Mainly, the signal produced by jaw muscles is very small, which makes it difficult to isolate.
 

cjdelphi

Oct 26, 2011
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My thought...

A piezoelectric mic could be stuck on with tape to the side of your mouth/jaw the output fed to a small opamp which in turns slowly charges a capacitor which is bled to ground...

So for example just clenching will fire a spike but not enough to charge the cap, when you begin grinding the cap fills (adj time by potentiometer ) and then say a 555 triggers alarming you?

1 pot for time 1 pot for fine tuning sensitivity to the amplifier...
 
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