Taste Approach:  An Illustrated Guide to Dentists and Bruxers

Despite is promise, the taste-based approach is not yet commercially available.  I myself have moved to another area of research, and can no longer reply to requests for help and advice (I deeply apologize for this, but you can just do so many things on this brief journey!). Anyway, years may pass before you can buy the liquid-filled capsules at your neighborhood drugstore.  In the meantime, anyone, anywhere, has my permission to use this approach in any way they like.  So, if you are one of those clinicians who care enough about their patients to try something that may actually help them, or if you are a self-assertive, technically proficient bruxer, the following comments may ease your task of actually using this approach.

The Dental Appliance

The appliance is the easy part.  It should be made of hard wire, sit securely in the mouth and be as comfortable as a retainer. It should be worn anytime grinding or clenching of teeth is suspected. 

A diagram of one possible configuration of this appliance appears to the right. 

22 posterior rod of a mandibular dental appliance to which a capsule can be attached

26 curl in one posterior rod to prevent slippage of capsule

30 hinge of appliance to secure it to teeth

34 anterior connection of two sides of appliance

ap1.jpg (30077 bytes)

The following diagram shows two possible configurations for this appliance:

ap2.jpg (130437 bytes)

ap3.jpg (319491 bytes)

The next diagram shows two appliance configurations with the capsules attached:

ap4.jpg (504707 bytes)

The Capsules

These can  be made in a variety of way, from a variety of materials.  Only one variation will be shown here.

First, a diagram:

10 small capsule, container, bag, or reservoir

14 constituents of capsule

18 sleeve of capsule

Fig1s.gif (9197 bytes)

These can be made with an Impulse Sealer and plastic tubing.  I get both from the following address:

Altech Packaging Co., Inc.

330 Himrod Street

Brooklyn, New York 11237

The label on the outside package of the plastic tubing is:  1-Tv 1" x 003.   The impulse sealer is: ATew@ (brand-name),  TISH-300.

The next step is to set up your own little laboratory/factory. You will need to think about what kind of liquid to put in your bags. I use a very strong solution of ground hot peppers and vinegar (with alcohol, the bags don't seal well). The goal is to wake up a bruxer, but not to punish.  After grinding the pepper (or horseradish, or . . .) in a blender, you can run it through a filter or cheesecloth. 

It may be a good idea to have a second appliance ready. On rare occasions a bag ruptures, one can replace it half-awake-- this takes a few seconds only and hardly interrupts sleep.

To prepare the bags, you will need a straw, a syringe (without a needle) or a pipette, double-sided scotch tape, a pair of sharp, small scissors, and time—until the process is commercialized, quite a bit of time.  Anyway, here are the stops to follow:

  1. Set up your laboratory--dining room table is fine. Have all the above equipment on the table, including your impulse sealer and the plastic tubing. You may want to use a bath towel as a tablecloth as inevitably some of your liquid will spill.
  2. Cut a length of plastic a little shorter than the heating element. Open the plastic so that the folded sides now meet in the middle of the tube. If you leave it folded, you will never get it open after you start to seal it.
  3. Put two sided tape below the Teflon on the metal plates that hold the heating element. This holds the plastic tubing securely in place. The tape should be stuck NEXT to the heating element--NOT on it!
  4. With the help of the tape, align the plastic to the sealer. You are going to make one of the ssleeves. This part is tricky--it is hard to always get an even sleeve the length of the plastic. It does not have to be exact--your appliance just needs to be able to hold the bag and it needs to fit over your teeth.
  5. Turn it around and make the next sleeve. Refer to the diagram above.
  6. Seal the bottom.
  7. Use your pipette or your syringe with the straw to put the liquid in the plastic tubing. Fill it about 70% full and seal the top.
  8. Starting at one end, start sealing the bags. Each one should be approximately 3/4 of an inch long.  Seal one at a time and make them as puffy as you can.
  9. Upon inspecting your work you may find some of your bags are leaking, sometimes you are able to rescue them by going back and resealing them, but not always. If they are not sealed, they are useless, and you will have to throw them away.
  10. Cut the good bags away from the rest and CAREFULLY cut open the little corners of the sleeves.
  11. Wash the bags thoroughly, first with rubbing alcohol , then with detergent, then rinses them thoroughly with water and then let them dry. This is important--the bag should be taste-free.

In the beginning, a bruxer may rupture a few bags a week. But, within a few weeks, a bag may rupture only once every two weeks or so.  So bags can be re-used over and over again.  Remove the retainer in the morning, runs tap water through the sleeves of the bags (to wash away accumulated saliva), and soak it  20 minutes in a cup of water with a few drops of detergent. Rinse the retainer and bags, dry them with a towel, and they are ready for use the next night.

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