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!