My Story

How did I get into the business of brux-hacking? Here's my story...

In 2010, I starting developing intermittent earaches. This hadn't ever happen to me before, but it was wintertime, so I just dismissed it some sort of passing bug. A couple months later, my ears started ringing.

I went to my primary care doctor, who performed a basic examination, but couldn't find the issue. She referred me to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor, who had me take a hearing test. Based on the results, he was convinced I had some nerve damage. Now, I've enjoyed my share of concerts and I haven't always taken precautions to protect my ears, but I wasn't convinced that this was the full story. The strange thing about this ringing is that it would come and go. Some days, it would be obnoxiously loud, other days I could barely hear it. A couple of months later, my jaw starting hurting, giving me the first clue to what was really going on.

I discussed my symptoms with my dentist and sure enough, he suggested that I may be grinding my teeth. After talking to him, it all started to make sense. I had been going through a very stressful period when this starting happening. My mother has always been a chronic grinder. Convinced that bruxism was the root cause of my symptoms, I took his advice and got a night guard. It does a great job of protecting my teeth, but it doesn't prevent the grinding.

After wearing the guard for a while, I visited a TMJ specialist, who is also a dentist. He prescribed some muscle relaxants and other drugs that allowed my jaw to recover some from months of abuse. However, the behavior continued.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this condition is that it happens involuntarily at night, while you are sleeping. You have no idea how often or aggressively you're grinding, which makes it difficult to gauge whether a particular remedy is working or not. As the saying goes: If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.

As a software engineer and electronic hobbyist, I quickly became interested in building a bruxism monitoring device. In late 2013, I discovered the Grind Control Device, built by Luc. I contacted him about it and shortly after, we started the bruxhackers mailing group. It's been a great resource for sharing ideas about possible remedies, electronic and otherwise.

My free time is limited these days, but I'm still very interested in projects like these. If you're working on something similar, I'd love to hear about it.

Comments

  1. It's like I was reading my own story. I just saw an Endodontist today because my GP couldn't find anything wrong with my ears and my dentist couldn't find anything wrong with my teeth so he referred me to an Endodontist because he thought I might need a root canal. But she said it was Sleep Bruxism. Please, if you ever find a device to alert one of when they're grinding/clenching I would love to know! I'm desperate. The ringing in my ears is almost unbearable some days. The pain, the headaches, everything. Thank you for this blog! Glad to know I'm not alone in this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's like I was reading my own story. I just saw an Endodontist today because my GP couldn't find anything wrong with my ears and my dentist couldn't find anything wrong with my teeth so he referred me to an Endodontist because he thought I might need a root canal. But she said it was Sleep Bruxism. Please, if you ever find a device to alert one of when they're grinding/clenching I would love to know! I'm desperate. The ringing in my ears is almost unbearable some days. The pain, the headaches, everything. Thank you for this blog! Glad to know I'm not alone in this.

    ReplyDelete

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