What are Occlusal Appliances? Part Two

Part Two: Symptoms, NTI’s and Occlusal Splints

In part one of this series, we talked about Occlusal Appliances, and how they will serve one of two functions, diagnostic, or preventative to help patients stop grinding teeth. Depending on application, they may be also be referred to as a mouth protector, mouth piece, gumshield, gumguard, nightguard, occlusal splint, bite splint, or bite plane.

The following are symptoms that may indicate an abnormal functioning of the bite: frontal or temporal headaches (some describe this as a “charlie horse” feeling in the head), sore facial muscles around the jaw, the inability to open the mouth wide, a clicking or popping noise inside the jaw, crepitus (grinding jaw joints) and moderate to severe ear aches.

NTI (Robust Programmer)

  • This treatment is used for those who want to stop grinding teeth or have poor chewing patterns.
  • It can also be prescribed for patients that do not want orthodontic treatment, but wish to alleviate their symptoms.  
  • NTI’s can be used to provide symptomatic relief of headaches or muscle pain in the face.
  • Continued or extended use of the NTI may be required in some cases.
  • This treatment provides symptomatic relief only.
  • It is primarily for night use but can be worn in the day as well.
  • NTI’s do not treat the root cause of the problem.
  • It can also be used instead of a splint, depending on patient preference.  

Occlusal Splint (Night Guard)

  • This treatment is most helpful for those with true parafunction.
  • It is a protective mechanism not a form of treatment.
  • It won’t make the parafunction go away, but it will protect the teeth.
  • It will alleviate some of the symptoms of CCP and Dysfunction, but not the root cause.
  • The device should be worn during the day, as well as at nighttime until a noticeable difference has been reported.

Occlusal Appliances have been used for many years in the diagnosis and treatment of a multitude of biting disorders. The purpose of this post was to clarify the reader’s understanding of the basic designs, and identify which factors are important in deciding how to use them properly on a daily basis. After reading this article, doctors and patients alike should be better equipped to successfully implement Occlusal Devices in their treatment options. Have questions? Contact us here.

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