NTI appliance for TMJ?
December 1, 2005 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone had an experience with an NTI appliance for TMJ? Or possibly a similar device for dental/jaw pain?

I am thinking about purchasing an NTI Deprogrammer for my TMJ pain because I currently have a mouth guard and it has shown no improvement. I am interested in any personal experiences with this device or with other methods that have improved your TMJ.

I realize that this is a long shot, but I am hoping that maybe someone out there has this device.
posted by crapulent to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was not familiar with the NTI - interesting. Frankly, though, it looks small enough to be a choking hazard, but maybe I'm paranoid. Like you, I also have a useless mouthguard. As far as other methods that have improved my TMJ, when it gets bad I find that a consistent 10-day regimen of ibuprofen really seems to help. But I only have the bad jaw/ear pain during really stressful times; if it's a consistent problem for you then ibuprofen probably isn't a good idea on a regular basis. (And of course, IANAD.)
posted by amro at 7:15 AM on December 1, 2005

This doesn't answer your question, but you can thank me anyway. :)

I had trouble with TMJ for many years. I finally visited an osteopath (a guy with multiple MDs who basically functions as a body mechanic). He said that my TMJ was caused by, quite simply, my jaw being out of alignment. (Duh. It just never occurred to me.) He spent half an hour palpitating around my ears, getting my jaw back in its little groove, and I've been pain free and symptom free for three years.
posted by waldo at 8:16 AM on December 1, 2005

I have a NTI device, not because of pain, but because I grind my teeth like a bastard. I have ground off a good chunk of one of my canines over the years, and my left rear molar eventually crumbled.

As for choking hazard, this thing is molded to your teeth and is an extremely tight fit. You should get it adjusted with your regular checkup, or if it starts to feel loose. You should not be able to pop it off with your tongue.

The device doesn't really work as advertised for me. I still grind my teeth, but now I grind my front teeth against the device. This is fine for me, because the jaw tension is not really a problem for me. I just don't want my teeth to get ground to powder.

That said, it is probably worth a try. The thing is really tiny and much less annoying than a full sized guard, and properly adjusted it should do what they say it does.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 8:34 AM on December 1, 2005

Seconding pretty much everything Lazlo said. I used an NTI for a period of months, and it helped to break the reflexive jaw-clenching I'd do while asleep. But, like Lazlo, the stress shifted forward over time, and eventually I started wearing a significant groove in it. Its tight grip on my teeth also loosened enough for it to pop off occasionally, and believe me, the terror of waking up and wondering "now, did I swallow the guard, or just spit it out?" is not something to be desired. So I stopped wearing it within a year (if not sooner), though by then it had done its job.

Anyway, it's worth trying. But I would also recommend seeing an osteopath, acupuncturist, or someone who does craniosacral work.
posted by Vervain at 11:11 AM on December 1, 2005

When I was a kid I had a pretty serious maxillary readjustment surgery that left my muscles stretched and tense. This lead to tmj, jaw cramping, headaches, toothaches and serious tooth grinding, but hey, I don't have an overbite right? Success!

Today, I wear a mouth guard, as they are known in common parlance of our times. Mine would be pretty tough to swallow, its wider than my throat and it sticks to my teeth (uppers) pretty well as it is custom fit for me. The headaches, toothaches and grinding are gone, the cramping and popping is seriously diminished. Mouth guards work. My was a custom job by a dentist though and before insurance reimbursement cost $400-$500.

My wife has similar grinding and popping, I don't know if you'd call it TMJ yet or not. Rather than the custom job, she went to the drug store and bought a sports mouth guard and melted it to fit her teeth. She starts with it in at night, but it usually ends up spit out into the bed by morning. Her popping is down to nothing but her teeth still get ground a bit. Her quick fix cost less than $20. It too is a bit large to go down a windpipe.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2005

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