NTI appliances are some dentists’ little secret. While part of the splint and guard family, NTI devices are far smaller than regular appliances. The petite device can have a huge impact on bruxism, TMJ, and even migraine relief.
Following is everything dentists need to know about NTI appliances, why are prescribed to patients, and what questions you can ask patients to explore if an NTI device is right for them.
What is an NTI appliance?
A Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension mouthguard, or an NTI, is a small, unobtrusive device on the anteriors that prevents occlusion of the posterior teeth to inhibit bruxism and relieve stress. NTIs are worn while sleeping to support patients’ TMJ in the position prescribed by the dentists. The appliances are removable by the patient.
NTIs mainly cover only teeth #6-9 on the maxillary arch. NTIs are used to prevent any form of bruxism and are used to treat TMD cases where the root cause is a muscle problem or to relieve the pain of temporal headache patients.
NTIs are mostly made with hard acrylic (Dandy uses Astron). Once they are placed over the maxillary social teeth (sometimes the mandible front teeth) the NTI inhibits the upper and lower teeth from touching. If a patient starts to grind their teeth, this activates the NTI reflex which forces the jaw to automatically relax. Unlike a standard night guard, an NTI night guard makes it impossible for the teeth to grind together and retrains the muscles to no longer brux.
What are the pros of the NTI device?
NTIs completely prevent occlusion and retrain patients’ muscles to treat bruxism. The device prevents teeth-clenching, which helps prevent migraines and tension headaches. The diminutive size of the appliance can be a pro for many patients or….
What are the cons of an NTI device?
Their small size means that some patients may struggle with device retention. Also, an NTI night guard can cause the surrounding teeth to move, changing the patient’s bite to what is known as an open bite. Because of this consequence, NTI splints are only given to patients with healthy teeth.
When should I prescribe an NTI to a patient?
When muscle spasms are the root cause of issues, dentists may want to address that directly and retrain the muscles with an NTI. For these cases, the NTI or the anterior deprogrammer would be a good option. These products prevent the jaw from engaging in excursive muscle movements in the first place.
Example exam questions for dentists to ask patients
- Do you have frequent or regular headaches? When?
- Are your jaw muscles ever sore or tender?
- When you eat or chew, are your joints sore or tender?
- Does your jaw make any noise such as snapping, clicking, or popping?
- Does your jaw lock when you are trying to open or close your mouth?
- Do you have any teeth that are sensitive, sore, aching, or uncomfortable?
- Have you worn a splint or nightguard previously? If yes, please describe.
- Are you taking or have you taken any medication for these symptoms? If yes, which ones?
- Have you ever had a jaw or face injury? If yes, please describe.
- Have you ever seen a dentist or a TMJ specialist for treatment of any of the above symptoms? If yes: How many and which ones?
What is the difference between an NTI device and a night guard?
Conventional night guards provide a secure layer of protection when the patient grinds or bruxes. Meanwhile, NTI night guards are specialized appliances that include a discluding element that completely prevents the patient’s teeth from occluding. Over time, NTIs retrain patients’ muscles to no longer grind or brux.
TMJ relief with NTI appliances
When you’re looking to prescribe appliances for the best TMJ relief for your patients, the NTI device can be a great choice for the right kind of patients. If your practice doesn’t currently offer splints and guards to your patients, they could be a great way to grow your dental practice by increasing profits. Dandy is a 100% digital dental lab that offers our practices 3D-printed Night Guards, top-of-the-line crown and bridge materials, digital dentures, and more. Reach out to our team today to get started with us!