NTI stands for Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibitor. An NTI is a type of nightguard that is used for the treatment of bruxism (teeth grinding) and migraine headaches. The NTI is a small piece of thermoplastic resin that snaps down over the front teeth (usually the lowers). There is a small ramp on the front of the device that makes it so that you can only bite with your front teeth on this ramp. This does two things: it keeps your back teeth slightly separated so that you cannot grind against them, thus protecting the teeth from breakage and nerve damage. It also protects the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) from straining. Try this exercise to demonstrate how this works: while touching the muscles of your temples and your jaw, bite down on a wooden pencil with your back teeth as hard as you can. You'll feel the muscles bulge as the jaw intensely contracts. Now compare to when biting on the pencil with your front teeth only. Notice how much less the muscle can contract. This happens because our bodies are equipped with a sensor that shuts down those muscles by about 80% when our back teeth cannot touch together. So the NTI protects the teeth and the jaw simultaneously.
For many people, migraine headaches are directly related to jaw clenching. During clenching, massive amounts of noxious chemicals make their way back to the sensory nuclei, making the person much more susceptible to migraine attacks. By controlling this clenching, many people experience far fewer migraines, and with far less intensity. The NTI is the only non-medication that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraine headaches.
NTI's are made in two appointments. On the first appointment, we will take an impression (a mold) of your mouth. Our lab will then custom fabricate your NTI. You will then see us for a second appointment two weeks later, where we will adjust and give you your NTI.