Transforming Dental Appliance Management and Fall Monitoring for Enhanced Well-being

L.L. Alconcel, L.B. Fischer
United States

Keywords: sensor, dental, monitoring, appliances, falls, oral


This submission tackles the dual challenges of dental appliance loss and fall monitoring, presenting a groundbreaking solution by integrating sensor technology within dental appliances such as dentures, sleep apnea devices, and sports mouth guards. For dentures alone, with over 40 million denture owners in the U.S., the loss of these appliances not only affects the well-being of the users but also carries significant financial implications for both individuals and Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities. The vulnerability of denture users to accidents and falls further compounds these challenges, as more than 1 in 4 older individuals experience falls annually, often going unreported. Given that falls contribute to a staggering $50 billion in yearly healthcare expenses, obtaining accurate fall data becomes crucial. Drawing on extensive experience in dental treatment within LTC facilities, Cydent introduces an innovative solution—the Smart Dental Unit (SDU). The SDU prototype seamlessly incorporates commercially available sensors, batteries, and antennas. The compact form factor of the SDU ensures optimal integration within the size and form constraints of dental appliances. The SDU is supported by a precisely designed debug board layout within the dental appliance to guarantee optimal functionality. The embedded sensors within the SDU enable the transmission of vital measurements to a smartphone application, facilitating real-time monitoring. These measurements include tracking data for dental appliances to prevent loss, movement detection for fall or impact monitoring, and in-use data for oral health assessment. Notably, the strategic placement of an accelerometer within the oral location provides unparalleled accuracy in measuring the impact of falls on the head. Future iterations of the SDU will see additional sensors for pulse oximetry (pO2), breathing frequency and timing, and the evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This expansion opens new possibilities for monitoring the effectiveness of sleep appliances and delivering a holistic oral health and wellness profile for users. In essence, the Smart Dental Unit presents a multifaceted solution to the intertwined challenges of dental appliance loss and the heightened susceptibility of the elderly to accidents. Beyond addressing immediate concerns, the integration of advanced sensors into dental appliances establishes a foundation for ongoing innovations in oral health monitoring. The potential impact of this technology transcends individual well-being, extending to alleviating financial burdens on healthcare facilities and fostering improved healthcare outcomes for a rapidly expanding demographic. This presentation invites exploration into the transformative potential of the Smart Dental Unit at the intersection of technology and oral healthcare.