Dementia Research Centre


What Is A Mouth-Guard and Why are We Using it?

What is a Mouth-Guard? Our study participants will be wearing a custom-made mouth-guard during each scanning session. The mouth-guard will be made by our dental team from the Eastman Dental Institute at UCL and involves taking an imprint of the participant’s upper teeth. The mouth-guard has a small, light Lego bar attached to it. At the end of the Lego bar is a small marker which is tracked by a small camera inside the scanner. The finished mouth-guard is worn inside the scanner where it will track any movements the participant might make while lying inside the scanner. You can see pictures of the mouth-guard on your right.

Why Are We Using a Mouth-Guard? MR imaging is sensitive to body movements and even small movements can blur the image. This blurring can make it difficult to study and analyse the image. One of the methods used to deal with this challenge is to use a camera inside the scanner. The camera tracks any movements participant might make while lying inside the scanner by tracking the marker attached to the mouth-guard. This information is then sent to a computer where some of the blurring in the image is corrected before the image is analysed.

Is the Mouth-Guard Safe and is it Safe to be Worn Inside the MRI Scanner?​​ The creation of the mouth-guard will be done at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging (next door to the Dementia Research Centre) by an experienced team of dentists and nurses from the Eastman Dental Institute at UCL. This will take place on the first study day. The procedure is painless and takes up to 20 minutes. As the mouth-guard does not contain any metal, it is safe to be worn inside the MRI scanner.​