TMJ: Signs and Prevention Methods

Could your face or jaw pain indicate TMJ?

Do you find that your jaw feels sore upon waking up?  Do you have a hard time chewing or does your jaw feel “stuck” when you open or close your mouth?  Do you suffer from migraines or sore teeth?  If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, caused by clenching and grinding your teeth.  The pain source is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones in your skull.  Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders.  The pain resulting from TMJ can be almost intolerable, but luckily there is more than one treatment option and relief is attainable and affordable.

What is an NTI and what is it used for?

An NTI is one of the only FDA approved dental devices used to combat migraine headaches without surgery.  NTI stands for Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition and it is a plastic device that fits on the back teeth, meant to stop the headaches and facial pain that are symptomatic of clenching.   The NTI works by relaxing the muscles and reducing the force of the clenching and minimizing the pain from the source.  Using an NTI while you sleep, you can see relief from headaches, neck pain, sore jaws and related pain.

Nightguard vs. NTI

There are some patients who do more grinding versus clenching and are better served with a custom nightguard which we professionally make in our lab. We discourage patients from trying an “over-the-counter” nightguard because they can actually cause you more harm than good. An improperly made nightguard may damage your joint, cause facial pain or increase headaches. Dr. Cirka, Dr. Jeon or Dr. Smith will see exactly what will work to help you with your symptoms.

In Philadelphia, Dr. Cirka, Dr. Jeon and Dr. Smith have treated thousands of dental patients who suffer with migraines and worn teeth. You may find that with regular use of your NTI or nightguard, you’ll be more productive throughout the day because your pain is reduced and you feel more comfortable with less tension and stress.


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