One of my favorite therapies to offer patients is the NTI-tss, also known as the Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition – tension suppression system. From the name, it’s easy to see why we simply call it the NTI, though. 🙂 Why is it one of my favorite therapies? For a very simple reason: it’s not often that you can literally transform someone’s life for the better in a couple weeks or months with no medications, no surgery, and at a very reasonable fee ……. but that is something that we do regularly with the NTI.
It’s such a simple-looking device, and it’s often difficult for people to understand how such a small nightguard can make such a dramatic difference, and often even more difficult to believe that a dentist can help them, even after they have been to every other kind of doctor and had every kind of test and scan imaginable.
How does a dentist treat migraines with the NTI-tss?
The essential basis for why the NTI is so effective is this: we now know that many migraines and chronic tension headaches are triggered by either CLENCHING or GRINDING of your teeth.
“WHAT?!?!?!” might be a natural question at this point, so please feel free to express your disbelief at this time. 😉 Don’t worry – that’s a common reaction. But think about an analogy that I often find effective with patients. Imagine that you decided to work out your biceps every day for 3-5 hours/day with a 2-3 lb. weight. Sure that’s not a lot, but for 3-5 hours per day? For weeks on end? For months on end? Maybe for YEARS on end? How do you think your biceps would feel? Ok, now imagine how all the muscles involved in opening and closing your jaws would feel if you decided to work them out for 3-5 hours every night for days, weeks, months, or years on end? Don’t you think that, in either scenario, the muscles involved would probably hurt like crazy?
I’m not going to get into all the details, as that gets extremely complicated, but if you’ll bear with me a moment and accept that this is a possibility, then wouldn’t it be logical if – by stopping or at least minimizing that clenching or grinding action — you could stop all the incredible muscle fatigue and pain, and the headaches would either go away or be greatly decreased? Well, that is just what the NTI does, and it does it far more effectively than any other type of nightguard I’ve ever prescribed for patients.
The NTI is not just a device to minimize/stop clenching and grinding, though — it can be a very effective tool in diagnosing the problem itself. In fact, it’s a critical part of the use of the NTI; we don’t just make one for you, put it in and say, “Bye – hope it works!” It’s a process – one that can take just a few days to be effective, or one that may take many months of very careful analysis and refinement to figure out precisely what the muscular problem is and how the NTI should be best adjusted for the individual.
Here’s a brief PDF video of how the markings that I see on the NTI help me determine what’s going on; also look carefully to see how different the patterns are to understand how much it varies from one person to another. And in future posts I’ll expand on this whole process more. If you’d like to ask specific questions, please comment!