Someone in my private T.S. group asked what I thought about Dr. Sims – a dentist on the East Coast who claims to cure T.S. through a mouth piece similar to a retainer.
I likely know as much about Dr. Sims as she does as I have received most of my info through his Youtube videos and publishings.
While many are skeptic, claiming that T.S. is neurological in basis only, I’m always open to new ideas. In fact, I called a similar doctor a few years back named Dr. Stack. As fate would have it, I did some research for this post today only to find that Dr. Stack trained Dr. Simms. Here is a pretty informative article about the mouthpiece and how it works.
* Note: When I called Dr. Stack’s office to speak with him, the secretary said he takes phone calls about the device by phone appointment only – an appointment that would cost me $200. (Given that I am Ebaying one $10 shirt at a time to save for my own miracle cure Brain Balance, I declined setting that appointment time. But I did give him the benefit of the doubt. His work is getting decent reviews. He’s a busy dude!)
The easiest way to understand how Sims and Stack explain Tourette’s syndrome is to consider the experience of accidentally and unexpectedly hitting a thumb with a hammer, touching a stove, or stumping a toe. Many people will utter a loud “Ouch!” or “Darn” or some other expletive we cannot use on a family oriented website in response to pain.
Suppose the nerve fibers that conduct pain to the brain somehow got crossed with the nerve fibers involved in seeing a woman with large breasts, or being pulled over to the side of the road by a traffic policeman, or seeing a large yellow object. The brain might generate an impulse to say “Piggie! Piggie! Big tits!” or “F—-ing Pig! F—ing Pig!” or “Tweetie Bird! Tweetie Bird!” the same way it generates an impulse to say “S—!” when someone touches a hot stove. (Andrea’s Note of Interjection: Moms, relax. Your kid is not going to curse in circle time. I promise. Moving on.)
People who have Tourette’s syndrome tend to have “crossed wires” while they are focusing on difficult or interesting tasks. They often consciously try to suppress inappropriate speech and movements, until they just can’t. Sims and Stack tell us how this can happen.
The nerves leading from the muscles to the brain sometimes amplify pain signals to make sure the brain gets the message. “Fast” pain fibers in a large nerve enter the base of the brain from the face. Nerves that transmit information about temperature enter the brain at the same place, and the outgoing cranial nerves VII, IX, and X leave the brain in this region.
These cranial nerves control the front of the face, the sides of the face, and the lower digestive tract. Sims and Stack believe that if these nerves are compressed together, they may engage in cross talk, similar to a short circuit, transferring nerve impulses from one to another, partially bypassing the higher control centers of the brain. The stronger the nerve impulse, the harder it is for the higher levels of the brain—which are the usual targets of drug treatments—to intervene and stop the tic.
Dr. Sims and Dr. Stack treat Tourette’s syndrome by relieving the physical pressure on the nerves entering the base of the brain so there is less cross talk. They have developed a plastic dental appliance they call a neurocranial vertical distractor, which “distracts” the fibers entering the base of the brain from the cross talk of neighboring nerves. Fitting over the lower teeth, it holds the lower jaw in place so there is less pressure on the base of the brain. Wearing this appliance 24 hours a day reduces symptoms of Tourette’s disease in adults, as you can see on You Tube. When the proper spacing of the jaws is determined, these dentists report, all tics cease immediately:
Even more promising, however, is the possibility of using this dental appliance in treating younger children who are just beginning to have symptoms of Tourette’s. The first symptom of Tourette’s usually appears at the age of five, about the same time the skull grows tight over the area where the nerves involved in tics enter and exit the brain. The first tics usually involve the eyes.
Let me go on to say that, similar to the controversy over Brain Balance – a $6000 program that promises to alleviate tics and other symptoms based on re-wiring the brain through diet and specifically targeted exercises – there is a lot to be skeptical about when it comes to Dr. Sims and Dr. Stack.
“There’s not enough substantiated evidence that this works!” people say. “So what if some people say it works. These guys could be quacks!”
My response to these doubts is the same I give about Brain Balance, “Western Medical doctors are quick to hand out pills to kids to dull their brains and their tics, and those sometimes don’t work. In fact, no doctor even knows why a kid develops T.S., so why is their pill more valid than an alternative treatment? Oh, because they are buying their beach front property thanks to pay-outs by big time pharmaceuticals? Because folk are more comfortable with traditional methods? That might be, but I don’t think Steve Jobs sat around in high school thinking, “You know, my passion for transmitting electronic information over invisible wires is not something the telephone company understands. I better just give up and sell phone books.”
How can we not investigate everything for our children? No one is forcing a gun to my head to buy. Most days I don’t feel desperate for a cure. I’m looking for something that will give my son the best quality of life ever. If something works – say Brain Balance or this dental device – does it matter if I 100% know why?” (Like… why is this formatting so wonky? Don’t know, don’t care. As long as I get the info out.)
So that’s my question to you all: Would you take a chance on something if you weren’t 100% sure why it worked but it worked? And it was non-invasive?
My husband wouldn’t. We are night and day on this issue. While I admit I want “a cure” as much for me as my son (who really could care less) it seems nuts to my darling mate. I think often about my experience with my chiropractic kinisilogist: Rex had no idea how Dr. Carroll could place some vials on my kid’s chest and tell me what he was allergic to. But by golly, one traumatic and expensive blood test trip to the doctor confirmed the exact same results. No wheat, eggs or gluten, along with a myriad of other less offensive food and environmental stimuli.
Another thing? I can meet someone in two seconds and figure out their basic personality- if they are sad, or if they are hyper. I have had to back waaaaay off of relationships with people thanks to their vortex of dramatic energy. (This is why I blog. All you readers would destroy me in person with your crazy mama energy wanting to fix your baby. And yes, takes one to know one.) Do I have a degree from Psychic U? No. But I do have the gift of emotional intelligence.
Granted, paying someone 6k is a lot and I wouldn’t do it based on emotional intelligence alone. But a combo of “this feels right” combined with enough testimonials from others and a solid trust in the doctor would definitely sway me.
Why does my kid have T.S.? What caused it? Why does this dental appliance, or Brain Balance, seem like a reasonable thing to me? Don’t know. But it does. Until science catches up with the root of T.S., I’m going to have to dig into my mama roots and treat my son the best way I can.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’ll leave you with this video from Dr. Stack
More parenting blogs from lots of folk can be found at the New Jersey Center for TS where this blog is syndicated. Want to share a story you have with them? Ask me and I’ll introduce you to the fabulous editor! Love New Jersey!
Find me at www.happilytickedoff.com! I'm a produced television, magazine, newspaper and national blog writer available for freelance writing in the areas of faith, parenting, lifestyle and healthcare. Find more of me on Facebook @AndreaFrazerWriter or @happilytickedoff
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14 thoughts on “Dr. Sims and Dr. Stack – Dentists Who Have Cured TS?”
Hi Andrea, just wanted to say great job with this. I’ve broken it up into three parts and will be syndicating it on our blog over the next three days. You by far get the most comments and attention on our blog, and I want to keep that up! 🙂
Jeff – God bless you. Like many Hollywood couples in my hometown, breakups are often the most necessary for attention! 🙂
My son’s friend is 14 and has tourettes. He’s no longer going to school. He’s on a cocktail of psychotropic drugs which have all sorts of weird and unwanted side effects. When I told the Mom about Dr. Stack, she was initially interested. UNTIL…she talked to her “best in the world psychiatrist” who told her that if this guy was legit, then why doesn’t Michael J. Fox have this mouthpiece, huh? He told her it was pure bunk and to not pursue it any further. However, the son was at our house one time and I got him to put 5 tongue depressors in his mouth. And the tics slowed down so much, we all stared at him, amazed. He also said he felt more relaxed. But lo and behold, the parents are not willing to even try this non-invasive method. They’d rather pump their kid full of drugs because apparently this is what works. Except it’s not working. This kid sleeps on average, 4 hours a night because the drugs make him hyper. But the counter to these drugs makes him so lethargic that he can’t get out of bed. Try a mouthpiece or fill your kid with drugs. I’m sorry, but if this was my kid, you can be very sure that I would at least TRY something as as easy as this. My heart breaks for this kid.
My 12 year old son has benefitted so much from one of these mouthpieces. He first got one last summer from Dr. Larry Lockerman in Worcester, MA. My son was Dr. Lockerman’s first Tourette’s patient. Dr. Stack referred me to him after Dr. Lockerman visited him to learn about the appliance.
My son’s tics were mild to moderate. But they were getting worse and he (and I) were very unhappy about it. When he got the appliance, he did not see any immediate improvement like you do in the videos. But over time, his tics reduced by about 90%. He eventually lost the mouthpiece. We didn’t get a new one right away because the tics didn’t return, it’s expensive, etc. Over time, his tics returned. Once we got the new mouthpiece, it again took a little while to help. But it has. Again, I’d say his tics are 90% gone. I can easily go a week without seeing a single tic.
He doesn’t even wear it all of the time. For one thing, he has a habit (perhaps a tic) of flicking it around in his mouth. He also takes it out to eat. That’s a bit of a problem, because that makes it easier to lose.
About the tongue depressors, They did not initially work for my son. That’s because we didn’t understand how to position his jaw. Don’t rule this out if the tongue depressors don’t work at home.
This treatment was so worth it for us. I’ve been told by one of the Doctors that they have about a 70% success rate. I really think that if you or your child is suffering with Tourette’s you should see one of the qualified doctors to see if this treatment can help.
BTW, I might add that we tried Brain Balance just before we got the appliance. It did not help my son’s tics at all. But FWIW, he’s having a fabulous year in school, both academically and socially. He didn’t have large problems before. But this has definitely been his best year in school.
Hello my name is Agnes.My son is 8 years old and he has a few tics .I am little sad about him and I hope it’s not Tourette syndrome .I have question for you where we can find this doctor and how expensive is this treatment ?.
I just got my appliance a week ago to treat mild tics (though they’re strong when I’m not medicated). So far, the appliance has had no effect on tics (even though the tongue depressors did). Perhaps it needs an adjustment.
I’d be interested in hearing from others about the impact the appliance has on speech. I still cannot pronounce S’s or “sh” properly, so wearing it to work is out of the question. Eating is also quite cumbersome and undesirable. I guess I’ll take it slow and see what happens over time.
I’m curious about who you got your appliance from. There are three doctors that are known for these appliances. I’ve heard about one experience where a child started with a different doctor and had modest results and then went to Dr. Demersian (sp?) and had great success.
That said, my son’s appliance did not come from one of the three known doctors. In fact, my son was this doctor’s first Tourette’s patient. In any event, my son’s tic went away gradually.
So perhaps you will have that same experience. Or perhaps your appliance does need an adjustment.
My son’s speech improved in a couple of weeks. He got it over the summer. So he didn’t have to wear it at school. His speech is now very barely affected by it.
He really can’t eat with it either. And that’s why we lost it a couple of times. Only once, permanently.
Hang in there! I will do a new post very soon which will address this. Thank you for commenting. How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?
After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time
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Is there a way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!
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Do you know if there are any doctors in the Southeast US that are making and fitting this device? We live in Atlanta, GA. Thanks!!!