The validation of a nocturnal occlusal force transducer and associated equipment for voluntary and nocturnal studies
Effective treatment and knowledge of nocturnal bruxism is lacking. Accordingly, the design, development, and validation of a nocturnal oral force transducer (NOFT) and associated collection equipment for the direct measure of occlusal forces as they occur during nocturnal was the goal of this thesis. Calibration of the NOFT revealed that the device was linear within the anticipated range of occlusal forces, resistant to deformation artifacts, and drift. The application of the NOFT in a voluntary study revealed maximum voluntary forces of 112 ± 10.5 N and 95.9 ± 3.68 N, and in a nocturnal study 1.9 ± 1.2 N to 4.9 ± 1.9 N for left and right bicuspids, respectively. The NOFT caused subject discomfort but was capable of detecting bruxism events. Voluntary bruxism simulations using the NOFT and EMG revealed that EMG identification methods are likely to miss low-force tooth grinding, and yawning and swallowing patterns require both EMG and NOFT data for proper identification.