Posted 1/5/2011 9:05 PM (GMT -6)
yep, Grindcare has definitely made the difference between life and death for me. But that's because it properly both diagnosed AND treated me, because it was bruxism that was sending me off the cliff of bearable pain. If bruxism isn't your biggest problem, you will have spent the bucks on Grindcare, just to find out that you have to find what is it you really need to treat. Since litigants in the Darwinian world of USA patents are trying to hold up sales of FDA approved Grindcare in the USA (hoping to cash in?), I don't know how soon you can rent it from dentists here in the USA, which will make diagnosis out-of-pocket affordable. So, dentists and bruxism doctors in the USA are not very aware of Grindcare. I remember one forum where a bunch of dentists tried to troll me out, saying that I must be a salesman for Grindcare, etc.. The old saying is really true that if someone's salary depends on not understanding something, it will be hard to convince them! At least Grindcare doesn't need me in the least, because they have actually done the gold standard studies themselves, and you can google and investigate it for yourself.
If you have not exhausted all insurance covered tests, you might want to do so, and be sure that your teeth show evidence of chronic bruxing, before going to Europe to buy Grindcare, again, because it's not available for cheap, short term rental here yet. For example, some people with hereditary migraine think they are bruxers, without even having gone through the hereditary history analysis and the process of trying out all the anti migraine drugs. Some people who have other kinds of headache, jaw, or ear problems assume that they are bruxers, and that concentrating on bruxing will work, without knowing if bruxing is actually their main problem. In the case of migraine, you have to try treatments that might prevent them, to confirm the diagnosis of migraine, which is very frustrating and can be a lengthy process of tapering on and off different drugs. So, with migraine, you have to make assumptions and try a treatment for your assumed problem. Doing the same for bruxism can get expensive if insurance doesn't cover it. Grindcare doesn't diagnose by treating first, luckily. But it is not cheap here yet. It's great that Grindcare will tell you yes/no definitively on bruxing, like a sleep study will tell you definitively yes/no on apnea. Of course if Grindcare tells you the answer is no, you have spent the $$, and have to try to sell anything you've bought, used, for whatever price you can get?
At least I can hope that you have not gotten Botox for bruxism, which couldn't be a worse idea. Diagnosing by treatment is sometimes (rarely) necessary, like with migraine and some other painful conditions. But diagnosing bruxism by injecting Botox, that migrates (including to the brain) and can reduce your sensory nerve capacity for biofeedback long term, is really bad. I know, cause I did it before Grindcare got FDA approval, and it just made everything more difficult (I recruited some weird muscles to brux after botoxing both masseters and temporalis!). I would say to anyone that is considering Botoxing their masseters or temporalis muscles for bruxism, that they should first taper off any serotonin reuptake inhibitors, taper onto a sedating anti-depressant, then try a strong muscle relaxant/sleeping pills, to see if that gives significant temporary relief. Then you at least have a little bit of an argument for treating bruxism, although it's still not definitive like Grindcare. And I would still say no to Botox - it's permanent problems after at best temporary relief if you really have chronic TMD.
I see some ad at the top of this forum's screen right now, for an elasticized cover for a warm/cool pad, that goes around your head, that purports to stop migraines(!) and headaches, and to give immediate relief 'at the push of a button' - it is truly disgusting to see how many people want to make a buck off the desperate, offering anecdoctal evidence, diagnosis-by-treatment, or just plain lies. 'There outta be a law' enforcement in the USA, like in Europe!
Anyways, back to Grindcare: it has not stopped all my chronic pain, nor the partial paralysis from the broken neck, etc. But it has taken me from a vicious cycle that was killing me, to wanting to live and wanting to see just how much strength I can regain. I have tried to stop the biofeedback mode, and after a couple of weeks I was back to bruxing all night, but I am certainly a very unusual case because off all the severe trauma to my nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones, my chronic pain, my metal vertebrae, all the blown discs pressing on nerves, etc.. I think when you do the googling and reading on Grindcare, you find the studies on how most people who are bruxers can retrain themselves in a matter of weeks.
Grindcare is not quite as easy as turning on an ipod, either. It's like learning to brush your teeth as an adult, which anthropologists have found is a difficult and frustrating job for many of those adults who have never seen a toothbrush. Precisely because our brains are wired to forget how long it took to learn to drive, walk, brush our teeth, etc., it is always a bit of a surprise to try to change a deep habit. I know just from having to learn to sleep on my side or back after barious operations.
I have to be the champ of people who find it difficult to use Grindcare, with my reduced sensory nerves (Botoxing for bruxism should be a crime, imhop), my centrally sensitized nerves, my dry skin (I always have to moisten the gel dots on the disposable, use-once sticky pad - I have incredibly dry skin even for my advanced age!). However, I've got it down now to about the same time as brushing my teeth - a little over 2 minutes. Since it is literally the difference between hope and dying for me, that's fine by me.
How to conclude?
1. Make sure that TMD bruxing is really your problem as best you can, before laying out $$ to do your own sleep study using Grindcare, because it is expensive.
2. Beware of sleep centers that say they check for bruxism! Twice I was told I don't brux, once before botoxing for bruxisim, and once after. Actually, the tech slapped a lead in the general direction of my temple, and got no data while I was sleeping. Put the pad of your index finger over your temple. Now clench, hard. Feel the temporalis muscle clench under your finger. Although the masseters do the main work, this is a very convenient muscle for tracking bruxism, and for biofeedback. I like Grindcare's triple lead better. But if a sleep center offers to slap a lead on your temporalis, make sure they put it in the right place, OVER the temporalis! Make the tech feel the temporalis muscle clench with his/her finger, like you have done!
3. Be ready to spend time getting a routine down that works. There is good reason that the inventors of Grindcare think many will want to rent from a dentist, and not just to save $$. If you can't program your VCR, you might want to make sure a savvy family member is completely committed to helping you get a routine that gives you good data each AM.
4. Buy an extra lead or two, in case you yank it in your sleep like me, eventually wrecking the connection. (I even use paper tape for sensitive skin, over the lead, to fight my yanking it when I move my long hair off my face during my sleep!)
5. Understand that this is a product that can diagnose only one condition, and treat only one condition (bruxing), so that if your biggest problem is something else, all you'll get for your $$ is that you don't need Grindcare, and that you still have to figure out what the biggest problem really is.
6. Do your best to rule out other conditions, try sleeping pills or muscle relaxants to improve quality of sleep, old fashioned tricyclic antidepressants like amitryptiline (avoid serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or taper off and onto a non-serotonin inhibiting anti-depressant. Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors may be causeing bruxism in many people). Make sure that you have tried all the old fashioned ways of improving sleep disturbances, like daily cardiovascular to a good sweat, avoiding stimulants, breathing exercises, and all that good stuff. What good would it be to stop or reduce your bruxing, if it is just one of several chronic stress reactions, and those others are still slowly hurting you?
I talked to one of the top people in jaw disfunctions at UCLA, and he told me that he would not prescribe a custom made mouthguard for me that prevents my moving my jaw at all. He said that the jaw is a complicated joint that wants to move in many directions, and that immobilizing it can make you fight that, causing more problems. I used a darn CPAP machine for 18 months, and certainly did not enjoy the mask, but it didn't seem to affect my bruxism (I used CPAP to be triply sure that my occasionally borderline air volume, while on high doses of muscle relaxants, which wasn't even enough to cause apnea episodes...my sleep studies weren't recording apnea episodes, but the doctor thought maybe some nights at home it was happening. Well, I don't have apnea, it it wassn't kicking off bruxism. And, although I didn't like the pressure of the mask, it wasn't kicking off bruxism, so be careful on your assumptions).
I have heard many people who think that a single dental appointment caused chronic TMD and disabling pain. On the contrary, I had tons of TMJoint damage from car and sports accidents dislocating my jaw, so much damage from various surgeries, some wastefully diagnostic, and other surgeries that caused alot of nerve damage and chronic pain, and I also bruxed for decades, before I ever bruxed enough to disable myself from it.
But, once I got bad enough, I really learned what bruxing can eventually do. When my trigemial nerve gets inflammed, one salivary gland backs up visibly from the swelling (inflammation) that spreads from the sorer of my TMJoinst, when my ear closes (despite an oroplasty that widened the canal by shaving off bones), when I am getting nosebleeds from the inflammation moving to my sinuses, and worst, when the lining of my brain gets inflammed (somewhere between migraine and meningitis level pain, although I have neither condition), when my peristalsis stops completely from pain, and I cramp up all over from pain, well, I seriously thought death might be the only way to reduce the pain. I didn't care that some of my doctors were trying to call me a malingerer in frustration at being unable to help me - I cared only about reducing the pain that made my whole body writhe. All I could do was take massive doses of muscle relaxants, many grams of neurontin, painkillers, and other drugs daily to keep me at best semi-conscious. Thank god that the resultant concussions made me zombie enough to rest up, thinking I'd figure it out someday, which I finally did with Grindcare.
If only it were a prefect world, we could inexpensively get a clear diagnosis on whether you are bruxing alot in your sleep or not, and then reduce your bruxing, and be talking about hundreds of dollars, not thousands. We are almost there (they are in Europe, and someday litigation or patent trolling or whatever else is holding up USA Grindcare sales will be finished). Even though too many USA dentists prescribe fancy pricey mouthguards, hoping misalignment or malocclusion is THE cause of your bruxism, it could be the cause for some patients. These patients would not be relieved by Grindcare alone, although at least Grindcare would identify which patients need more help. When we can rent it here cheaply it'll be great. And when you can rent Grindcare cheaply here, you'll see how much of a bruxer you really are, on the morning line chart, easy enough for a 5th grader to understand. Until then, we'll still have the problems of no simple, certain, cheap diagnosis/readout (analogous to the sleep study for apnea). Without this, you can fall into the realm of using various (sometimes expensive) treatments as diagnostic tools, which can really add up without helping you (unless the guess turns out to treat your specific problem).
Hang in there, and become an expert about your own problems, is my best advice for you. Bruxism isn't causing as many problems as people would like to think, and when Grindcare is as cheap here as it is in Europe, those who really need it will get it affordably, and millions of people may get out from chronic pain. Until then, you have to become as informed as possible before spending out of pocket $$ to try to nail down the correct diagnoses and treatments for you. If I made it through 10 plus years of screaming, phantom-limb like pain and then got relief, I am hoping you will get better than me, and faster!