The Biofeedback Headband: treating the cause of TMJ and Teeth Grinding

Bruxism: what is it?

Bruxism is simply the technical term for a very common condition: teeth grinding. It’s some that many of us have either already experienced, or will experience in the future. Frequently disruptive to sleep, bruxism is very often brought on by stress. Unfortunately, once the habit pattern is ingrained, many people have been known to continue grinding their teeth even after stressful causes have been resolved. Because the habit is now unconscious, it is often extremely difficult to break once and for all.

Beyond this, prolonged bruxism can cause all kinds of pain and damage, including headaches, loose or brittle teeth and ear pain. It can also lead to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (also known as TMJ).

Mouth guards are extremely helpful in reducing pain and cushioning your teeth to prevent new damage, but they will not address the root cause of your teeth grinding. The biofeedback treatment involved when using a special bruxism headband has been proven to be the best method of permanently reversing your teeth clenching or grinding habits.

SleepGuard Headband – Product Review:

  • Customer Rating: 
  • Price on Company’s Website: Ranges from $49.95 to $395 (Includes a free 21-day trial)
  • Credibility Factor: Successful clinical trials completed. Approved by the FDA
  • Where to buy: StopGrinding.com

If you suffer from bruxism, the SleepGuard Biofeedback Headband is the most advanced technology available to combat your condition for good (wikipedia).

How exactly does it work? The device uses EMG biofeedback technology. Basically, it is programmed to emit a small sound whenever sensors detect that you are grinding your teeth. It is battery-operated and needs no external power source.

At first, you need use the headband at home while you are awake. Whenever you hear the biofeedback tone, you become aware that you are habitually grinding your teeth, and can consciously stop the pattern. After training yourself in this manner, you can then wear the device while you sleep. It has been clinically proven that, on hearing the audio signal, people are able to stop their teeth grinding even while they sleep, as it has become a trained response. It is in this way that the habit is broken.

Lee Weinstein, an electrical engineering professor and hospital equipment designer, invented biofeedback headbands in 1998. The device was patented in 2000, with an improved version re-patented in 2001. It was first sold commercially during that year and was immediately successful for many who tried it. The biofeedback headband was redesigned and re-released in 2007 as the SleepGuard Biofeedback Headband.

How to wear your biofeedback headband

  1. Turn on the device with the simple push of a button
  2. Adjust the headband to fit comfortably
  3. Relax and drift off to sleep!

 

About biofeedback…
Biofeedback allows you to gain an awareness of your involuntary activities. In so doing, you are able to gain control over them. Biofeedback devices serve to alert you whenever a particular involuntary action takes place, and also to disrupt the pattern of the action. The technology has already been used successfully in the treatment of migraines and other chronic pain issues. There is now a considerable body of research in the application of biofeedback methods to the treatment of bruxism.

How exactly can biofeedback help with bruxism?

The SleepGuard Biofeedback Headband has a sensor that automatically detects teeth grinding and clenching, because it monitors the tension in your jaw muscles. Once any undesirable tension is detected, a short sound is emitted, causing the wearer to stop the habit. When starting out with the headband, individuals must use the device while they are awake. This is so that they gain awareness of the moments when they are grinding their teeth, and can then consciously reverse the habit.

The success of the treatment is governed by this initial investment of time in conditioning yourself. Eventually, the device’s signal will elicit a Pavlovian response, even during sleep.

 

Pavlovian Responses Explained…
Pavlovian conditioning (also known as classical conditioning) was first employed by the notable Russian Psychologist, Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov found that if he rang a bell every time he fed his research dogs, the dogs soon began to salivate upon hearing the bell, regardless of whether they received a meal after the sound. This of course only began to occur once the procedure had been repeated several times. It now has a vast number of applications in the general field of learning.

Use of Mouth Guards with the SleepGuard Headband

If you already wear a dental guard at night for the purposes of reducing your grinding and protecting your teeth, it is recommended that you continue to do so while using the biofeedback headband. This is because the headband is so sensitive that it can detect when your jaw muscles tighten out of habit, despite having your mouth guard in place. The headband will help to break the habit permanently, while your existing mouth guard will aid in protecting your teeth throughout the transition period.

This picture shows how the SleepGuard Biofeedback Headband rests against the muscles of the jaw, in order to detect the tiny electrical signal (Electromyography) that is created when these muscles start to clench. The headband emits a small audio signal, which disturbs sleep very slightly, in order to stop the clenching habit. Provided that they have invested sufficient training time during waking hours with the headband, the sleeping wearer is usually not even aware that the process has taken place.

*Sleepguard Unboxing Video from Sleepguard German

The device works to your own level of conditioning, because the emitted sound begins softly and gradually increases in volume until you stop grinding. Most people manage to relax quite easily as a result of the soft sound, simply by practicing with the device for several minutes per day. They become so quickly conditioned that the sounds does not even cause them to wake up.

Using a Biofeedback Headband virtually equates to having your own Sleep Lab! Conventional Sleep Labs usually involve a costly overnight stay, and use tests to measure the tiny electrical signal generated by your jaw muscles when they clench (electromyography). This is a highly effective way of diagnosing bruxism. However, now you can have the same technology at home, and the sound made by the headband will mean that you stop the clenching process as well. The headband provides both a diagnosis and a cure!

To date, the SleepGuard Biofeedback Headband is the most advanced piece of equipment available to treat nighttime bruxism. As this device quickly and easily addresses the cause of your problems, you will find that pain is either reduced or completely eliminated. Sufferers report that symptoms such as migraines and TMJ rapidly disappear with consistent use of the headband.

Clinical Finding…
In clinical trials, scientists determined that three practice sessions with the headband, undertaken during the day, are enough to start evoking a conditioned response to the biofeedback mechanism, even during sleep! The same studies showed that 3 out of 4 people experienced a 50-60 percent reduction in their teeth grinding almost immediately. Within 30 days, half of the study participants reported an 80 percent reduction in symptoms.

An additional function of the headband is its ability to collect information regarding the number of times you clench or grind during one night. It also calculates the total minutes spent grinding whilst asleep. You can very easily chart your progress with this information. The device is highly sensitive, and can even record bruxism episodes lasting a mere 0.2 seconds! Its adjustable settings allow the user to adjust the signal volume as well as the amount of force needed to trigger the biofeedback response. Most users set the headband to register only their strongest episodes to begin with, and then increase the sensitivity of the device as healing progresses.

 

More on Clinical Findings…
In a 2011 paper, Lee Weinstein, the inventor of the biofeedback headband, presented the findings from the first clinical study conducted with the headband. There were 92 participants in total. The aim of the study was to assess the efficiency of the device. The following graph was drawn, which shows the average reduction in nightly minutes of clenching, across all participants.
 Conclusion:
These results are very positive. The majority of participants recorded a considerable reduction in the duration of their bruxism almost immediately. These individuals also reported an accompanying decrease in pain as well. Although 25 percent of the total number of participants did not experience significant change, 50 percent of sufferers continued to reduce their symptoms as the study went on. There is a planned follow-up to this 2011 trial, which will last for two months instead of one. It will be run by a New York neurologist, and will specifically focus on the application of the headband to migraine sufferers. For full details of this trial, Click here.

Batteries

The headband runs on two watch batteries (3V lithium batteries). These last for approximately 320 hours, which equates to 40 average nights of sleep time. You can purchase batteries from Radio Shack and directly from SleepGuard. The device itself is adequately shielded so that there is no adverse electromagnetic effect on your sleep or energy field.

Sleeping with the Headband

The sound emitted by the device is so tiny that sleeping partners rarely perceive it at all. In any case, the volume is fully adjustable. Use the recorded data from each night of sleep to determine whether you should increase or decrease the volume. If you notice no reduction in your accumulated clenching time, you may need to increase the volume slightly so that it alerts you more effectively.

Teeth clenching and grinding generally stops when we enter levels of REM (Rapid eye movement sleep) or deep sleep. People who habitually grind their teeth, however, have great difficulty getting down to those levels of sleep. They therefore awaken after a whole night in bed without feeling very rested at all. A major benefit of using the SleepGuard headband is that you can finally get a whole night of beneficial sleep, and will feel far better in the mornings than you ever used to!

SleepGuard’s Free Trial

SleepGuard currently offer new customers a 21-day trial, completely free of charge. If you discover that the headband doesn’t work for you, simply return it for a full refund, including the cost of shipping. Full information is available here at the retailer’s website.

 

 

Reviews from Customers

Here is a screenshot from Amazon of three rave reviews from satisfied customers, detailing how quickly and effectively the SleepGuard headband addresses both bruxism and painful migraines. It is also reported to have wonderful results when used for TMJ. The only negative point made by the reviewers is that the appearance of the band is slightly ‘futuristic’ and not very sexy! This is a small price to pay for a cure from your troublesome symptoms, however!

Amazon Customer Reviews:

These excellent reviews suggest that most people will see results from their SleepGuard device in less than a month. Both medical professionals and users recommend using the headband daily at first, in order to train yourself to react to the sound signal. Once you have initially managed to break your habit, you need only wear the device when you are particularly tense, ensuring that you have a good night’s sleep. for more reviews, scroll down…

Frequently Asked Questions:

 How safe is my SleepGuard device?use?

Your biofeedback device is absolutely safe. In many cases, the tiny audio signal it emits is so soft that it doesn’t even wake people up. The headband itself uses two small watch batteries, and does not require an external electrical connection. It is even shielded, in order that it does not affect your body’s energy. The device is also 100% hypoallergenic.

 I’m concerned it won’t fit. How adjustable is the size?

The SleepGuard biofeedback headband will function perfectly on all adult head sizes. It is not recommended for use with small children, however.

  I have very sensitive skin. Might I have allergy problems with the device?

The device is constructed from a polyester/cotton terrycloth blend. It has sensor pads made from hypoallergenic silicone and suspended carbon. There is a stainless steel component at the center of the pads. No customers have reported any allergy problems or skin reactions to the product.

 Is it very heavy to wear?

Not at all. The weight of the entire device is approximately two ounces.

 How much disruption to my sleep will I notice?

The audio biofeedback signal only sounds briefly when you begin to clench your teeth. As soon as your muscles release their grip, the audio signal stops. It is quiet enough not to disrupt your sleep and the volume is fully adjustable.

Incidentally, most users of this product claim that they are sleeping more soundly than before. With a reduction in grinding, they manage to reach REM sleep phases more easily than they could previously. Bruxism does not occur during REM sleep phases.

 Will the audio signal wake my partner?

Hardly any users reported their partners waking as a result of the signal. There is a volume control in order to ensure that the sound is discreet.

 How exactly does the work?

WWhen grinding or clenching your teeth, the muscles of the jaw emit a light bio-electrical signal. The SleepGuard device senses this, even though the muscular signal is tiny. The headband then emits a soft audio signal which triggers an automatic reaction in you to stop clenching or grinding. The entire process is based on the concept of Pavlovian response.

 For how long will I need to use the SleepGuard headband before I notice an improvement?

Scientific trials indicate that some users experience positive results within a couple of days. Other customers experience more gradual improvements with regular use. A good way to tell if you are making progress is to monitor the recorded data given on the device every morning. You will learn the number of times you clenched during the night, as well as the total time spent clenching. Nearly all users see a decrease in these numbers almost immediately. Most people can expect very good results within just one month.

 Should I wear my headband every single night? What about wearing the device during the daytime?

The more you wear your device, the faster you will notice results. It is recommended that you use it every single night, for this reason. It is crucial that you initially use the headband during the daytime as well, in order to condition yourself to respond adequately to the audio signal. You will then have an automatic response during sleep. Wearing the headband in the daytime can also help you to break the bruxism habit, if you find that you clench or grind your teeth while you are awake. Once you have broken your habit, you need only use the device during times of added stress, which is when bruxism is most likely to reoccur.

 Can I use my current mouth guard with the headband?

Mouth guards are primarily used to protect your teeth from damage. They do not often help you to break an actual bruxism habit. However, biofeedback treatment has been proven to work when applied to the reduction of clenching and grinding habits. If you use a headband, you will eventually no longer need your mouth guard. However, do use it concurrently with the biofeedback headband if it keeps you more comfortable in the short term.

Final Say

Here at Grinding-Teeth.net, we do not actually offer products for sale. We simply review the market for evaluation purposes only. However, we definitely look out for the best deals around, and the lowest price on the SleepGuard headband is to be found here.

Further details can be found at, the SleepGuard website.

Business Address:

Holistic Technologies, 32A Fairmont St. Arlington, MA 02474.

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Click here to download product manual (Revised September, 2011)

 

 

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We value your opinion! Please share your experiences with this device, so that other bruxism sufferers can learn whether it can help them as well.

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