Splintcost - Sensor providing longitudinal information on nocturnal toothgrinding and compliance of splint therapy

Many people grind their teeth at night, and may not be aware of it. Tooth grinding can cause headaches, facial pain or severe damage to the teeth. To prevent these problems, dentists often prescribe a mouthguard to use at night. Mouthguards are effective but few patients use them enough. Patients often wrongly believe that their grinding is stopped and that mouthguard use is no longer required. As a result, the facial pain and damage to the teeth frequently continue. Unfortunately dentists have no simple and cost effective test that could check if the grinding is ongoing.
This project will examine ways to increase patients' usage of mouthguards. We propose that if patients had a way to see some personalised information that shows that their grinding is still active, they would be less likely to prematurely stop using their mouthguards. In this study we will give 50 patients a novel mouthguard with a sensor that detects grinding and sends personalised information about their grinding to a website. Half the patients will have access to the feedback information and the other half wont. We will see if there is a difference in mouthguard usage between the two groups. Factors related to patients' experience of having a splint and its comfort can have a big impact on splint usage. These factors will be examined in detail using standardised questionnaires and in-depth interviews.
We will also study how effective mouthguards are at reducing or eliminating grinding over 12 months. We expect this will show that for most people, the grinding continues even with the mouthguard in place and that mouthguards actually need to be used for longer than many people expect. This research will engage and inform patients about the long-term management of their own tooth grinding condition and improve long-term dental health.

Award Date
19 June 2014
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Brian O'Connell
Host Institution
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Health Research Awards