Jaw pain? Headaches? If either problem tends to plague you day in and day out, you may want to chat with your dentist, because both of these symptoms could be an indication of muscle tension that needs correcting. And, depending on the issue-at-hand, your dentist may fit you with an NTI appliance that could help reduce or eliminate these problems from your life. The trick is visiting your dentist for an expert opinion.
What is an NTI device?An NTI device, known in dental circles as the decidedly more complicated “Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition” device, is a tension suppression system developed to address the chronic pain that comes with temporal mandibular joint disorder, migraines, clenching and grinding.
The device is made of hard plastic and custom-molded in the dentist’s office to fit over a person’s upper or lower front teeth. Because it prevents tooth-to-tooth contact, its design is said to relax over-worked muscles in the face and jaw that come with repeated grinding and clenching.
Is an NTI right for you?The dental community is somewhat divided when it comes to the NTI. Some practitioners find it is an effective way to combat tension headaches and reduce the habit of clenching and grinding, which can contribute to the loss of bone tissue within the oral cavity.
Others, however, find the device less than effective, and possibly even a detriment to the oral health of some patients, causing complications that may be less preferred than a headache.
Even it’s developer, Dr. James Boyd has commented in the past that not all patients should be using the device.
In the end, if you suffer from tension headaches and TMJ-type discomfort, you may wish to ask your dentist if an NTI could help. After doing your own due diligence you can then decide if it’s right for you.