If you are dealing with headaches, as well as sensitive teeth or jaw pain, you may have bruxism. Bruxism, or clenching, can be an issue if left untreated since excessive force can lead to dental problems and chronic headaches. If you want to protect your teeth and reduce your headaches, reach out to an orthodontist for more help. An orthodontist can set you up with an oral appliance that can eliminate your headaches and protect your bite. Read on to learn more about why clenching causes headaches and how an NTI appliance could help.
Why Does Clenching Cause Headaches?
According to the Scientific American, the average person can place about 170 pounds of pressure on their molar teeth. The muscles involved in biting are incredibly powerful so that a person can expend minimal muscular effort to eat. The downside of this power is that if you have bruxism, you'll be placing that pressure in excess on your teeth and surrounding facial muscles. Other supporting muscles are involved in chewing processes, so if they are overworked, this fatigue can turn into a headache.
What Is an NTI Appliance?
The nociceptive trigeminal inhibition, or NTI, tension suppression system is an appliance that fits on your upper and lower jaws and separates them slightly so that your molars can't interlock during clenching motions. Not only does the NTI protect your teeth from wearing down prematurely, but the NTI keeps facial muscles from contracting so that you can avoid tension headaches.
The NTI looks similar to a whitening tray or invisible braces, since it's constructed of a plastic material and fits snugly over your teeth. A lot of NTIs only fit over the anterior teeth, so they may be more comfortable than other oral appliances. Your dentist can construct a full-arch NTI if your clenching is so bad that you need more support or if your dentist is concerned about the super-eruption of posterior teeth.
Some people only wear their NTI appliance at night, but if you grind your teeth often, your dentist can make an appliance for daytime use.
What Do Studies Say About NTI Appliances?
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the NTI appliance and found it to be safe for people with migraines or tension headaches. One review found that NTI appliances could help people with bruxism and people with temporomandibular disorders. However, the study found that in order for the best results, participants needed to maintain compliance and follow-up appointments with their orthodontists.
Reach out to an orthodontist for more information on NTI appliances and other splints that could help your bruxism and headaches.