Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60%–80% of dementia patients. Attempts were made across the world to discover the methods to prevent its development, hinder the onset, and to treat the disease. The treatment procedures cannot prevent dementia but it can reduce the progress of symptoms. Among the issues of dementia, there are possibilities of losing the patients due to disorientation and wandering. This is a serious problem to the caregivers. Many methods were studied and suggested to overcome this limitation.
The World Health Organization and the National Institute on Aging-related tooth loss as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's patients are mostly associated with teeth loss and required prostheses to improve their oral function and quality of life. Attaching a tracker to the dentures and tracing the patients through the Global Position System (GPS) modules can be helpful to the care providers. With the advances in technology, the caregivers can be provided with easy and economic options in tracking these patients. Many mobile devices and techniques operating through GPS were designed. Major issues existing in costing and devices may not be used by the patients. GPS trackers attached to the denture are simple, economic, and convenient to use for the patient. It provides required support to the caregivers in tracking the patients and improves the oral health quality of life.
The dentures were fabricated by conventional procedures. The position of the sensors was located and marked on the maxillary denture [Figure 1]. A sheet of light polymerizing acrylic sheet (Profibase; VOCO GmbH) was adapted over the defined position of the sensors. The sensors were placed on the positioned light polymerized sheet and it was spot cured for 5 s to trim/remove the excess materials. Postremoving the flash material, the denture along with sensors was light polymerized according to the manufacturer's instructions.
A clear thermoforming material (Clear Bioplast® Material; Biostar®, NY, United States) was vacuumed and pressed over the placed sensors. The pressed thermoforming material sheet was shaped to cover and protect the sensors. The extension of thermoplastic sheet over the USB plug of the sensor was removed and sealed with room temperature vulcanizing silicone (M511 Platinum silicone, Technovent) [Figure 2]. The power switch of the sensors was turned on and it was activated in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The GPS-attached denture can be used to locate the position of the patient and it can be tracked through the mobile application [Figure 3].
A GPS tracker device is designed to be attached to the maxillary or mandibular denture. The signals sent by the tracker will be received and decoded through the mobile phones. The tracker design works with Android, iPhone, and other applications. The device shall send information on location, speed, distance traveled, and route through the established free mapping systems available on the phone networks. A long-distance accuracy design of tracking shall be adapted and the module allows the device to be tracked even in difficult areas. The tracker was designed to provide auto report position. The username, password, and authorized number facilities shall be provided to enhance accuracy. In addition, the device incorporated the features of low battery alert, remote monitoring, and geofence alert on movement and speed. These features can assist in tracking and checking the patients. The battery life varies between 40 and 48 h and it is rechargeable. In addition, the device is programed to work on a low-power charge. The limitations of bulkiness, phonetics, and difficulty in palatal adaptation can be reduced with advanced technology.
The GPS denture tracker can aid in establishing the contact of wandering Alzheimer's patients. It can improve the quality of life and care both to the patient and caregiver. Many GPS tracking devices such as pocket tracking devices, clothing attachments, and wearable – bracelets, watches, necklaces, and pendants are commercially available; the use of sensor trackers in dentures is simple, novel, and effective approach in edentulous or partially edentulous patients. The technique can be employed in situations where the dentures are fabricated in edentulous patients or in palatal plates for dentulous Alzheimer's patients. It is comparatively economical with the use of open-source platforms. The thought and technique can be used with extensive modifications to benefit the needy. In addition, since the device is attached to the denture, there are lesser chances to forget or lose it in Alzheimer's patients.
The technique described is a prototype and the sensor employed in this technique is slightly bulky. Efforts can be made to use smaller size devices and suitable secured linking platforms. Smaller or nano-GPS sensor options are available but presently they are expensive.
The type of software system used in this technique was open sourced. Many dedicated software systems are available for tracking Alzheimer's patients. The system can be either customized or commercial models can be used in accordance with the needs. An exclusive denture tracking network for Alzheimer's can provide simple and more economic options for tracking participants in future.
The technique described provides a simplified approach to track edentulous patients with Alzheimer's disease.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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