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A Taste-Based Approach to the Prevention of Bruxism.
Here, a mildly aversive, safe liquid (e.g., sea water), is inserted into, and sealed in, small plastic capsules. One or two capsule(s) are attached to a specially-designed dental appliance which comfortably and securely places them between the lower and upper teeth. The appliance and capsules are worn at night or at other times when bruxism is suspected to occur. Whenever bruxing is attempted, the capsule(s) rupture and the liquid is released into the mouth. The liquid then draws the bruxer’s conscious attention to, and forestalls, any attempt of teeth clenching or grinding. After the capsules are replaced, sleeping patients resume sleep while awake patients resume their normal activities.
On the positive side, it involves wearing a comfortable dental appliance similar to a child’s retainer; hence (unlike the splint), it is probably not associated with any worrisome side effects. It is based on the known effectiveness of taste stimuli in aversive conditioning, and on documented research that the sleeping brain is capable of learning. It is less costly and cumbersome than sound alarms, and, unlike sound alarms, it virtually precludes habituation (not waking when the capsule ruptures). When worn, it eliminates (not just reduces) bruxing behavior. Moreover, as we have seen, this appliance (attached to wax capsules) could be used to diagnose bruxism and to assess the effectiveness of all other treatment modalities. On the negative side, the first few weeks of wearing this appliance are trying. Also, as in the case of all other bruxism therapies, a large scale, double-blind, experiment confirming the effectiveness of this approach has yet to be carried out.
Two users wrote:
I’ve tried just about everything over the years, and yet my condition continued to get worse. Dentures, hearing aids, and TMJ were waiting for me around the corner. The taste-based approach worked wonders for me. It saved my ever-flattening teeth. It totally stopped my earaches, hearing loss, splitting headaches, and clicking jaws. I still wear the device every night, so for me this approach only provided an effective treatment, not a cure. The appliance is far more comfortable than the splint though, and is not associated with any side effects. About once every two weeks now a bag breaks, but that’s all right, given all the other alternatives! Half-asleep, I remove it, replace it with the spare appliance which is always ready on my nightstand, and go back to sleep.
For over fifteen years I have suffered from bruxism and have journeyed from promise to promise with little success. The body being such a wonderful thing, I couldn’t believe that it was capable of committing nightly sabotage at that level! I decided to make the dental appliance and bags myself, and the taste-based approach is the one and only method that has worked! This approach changed my life.
However, this approach requires discipline, motivation, and will power. Also, because this approach is not commercially available, users must possess exceptional technical skills.