Excellent Dentistry
Comprehensive Care
Exceptional Experience
Margaret Shaw, DDS
Bethany Sharpe, DDS
105 Ovilla Creek Court #200
Ovilla, TX 75154
1/1/2017 Margaret Shaw, D.D.S., P.A.

Got Headaches?
If you suffer with migraine or tension headaches, relief could be as simple as a quick visit to your dentist. Go to the dentist for migraines? Absolutely. While there is much to be said for medications when it comes to treating headaches, a custom-made dental device is now working wonders. This device is called the NTI. NTI stands for nociceptive tri­ geminal inhibition, which simply means the device stops painful stimulation to the nerves of the face and jaw. This stimulation typically occurs when you clench or grind your teeth-so if the grinding can be prevented, so can the migraines! Use of the NTI produces no adverse effects whatsoever, and while it can be used in conjunction with medication, it is also being met with great success when used alone.
The NTI is unlike other dental splints or night guards in that it does not cover all of the teeth in one arch with a "horse­ shoe" shaped appliance. It is a small, clear, hard acrylic device that snaps onto either your upper or lower front teeth. The simple brilliance of this de­sign is that it keeps your back teeth from touching while you sleep, making it impossible to clench or grind. This, in turn, prevents the painful nerve stimulus that leads to headaches.
Another fabulous benefit of the NTI is that it reduces the overall wear on your teeth. As we age, we naturally get tiny cracks in our teeth, especially the back molars. This is because the mouth op­erates like a hinge, with the most pres­sure being applied towards the back of the hinge, like a nutcracker. While it is impossible to completely eliminate this pressure (we do have to chew our food, after all), studies show that use of an NTI will significantly reduce the dam­age that naturally occurs. Less damage means you will be less likely to need fillings, crowns, root canals and extrac­tions as you get older.
The NTI prevents excessive wear on the front teeth as well. If you've ever wondered why your teeth seem shorter than they did 10 years ago, it's prob­ably because you are grinding them down. Obviously, this is a cosmetic is­ sue-longer teeth are youthful teeth, so any reduction in the length of your teeth makes you appear older. The loss of vertical dimension in your mouth also creates wrinkles in your skin. But aside from the cosmetic issue, if you are losing length in your front teeth, this indicates you are grinding and clench­ing and forming cracks in ALL of your teeth.
At this point, the question might be, "I have a horseshoe-shaped splint, isn't that good enough?" That depends. If you are only trying to prevent grind­ing and you don't mind the size of it, it's probably fine. But if you have any sort of headache or TMJ (Temporomandib­ ular Joint) pain, you should consider a switch to the NTI. Full-coverage splints still allow the teeth to bite down on the splint. This activates the muscles and, therefore, does not prevent clenching. As long as the patient is able to clench either teeth-to-teeth or teeth-to-splint, there is still painful reception that oc­curs in the trigeminal nerve which can lead to migraines. The NTI prevents the back teeth from touching anything, which makes it impossible to clench at all with it in place. Other benefits of the NTI include its small, less bulky size and its position in the front of the mouth, which prevents it from triggering the gag reflex. Also, the type of acrylic used to make the NTI does not absorb odors or stains... a major plus if you've had the full-coverage type!
The FDA approved the NTI for the prevention of medically diagnosed mi­graine pain in 2001. In a clinical trial, 82 percent of NTI users experienced a 77 percent reduction in migraine events with no medical side effects. Those numbers are hard to argue with. And we have learned how it can pre­vent excessive wear, cracks and loss of length on all of the teeth. If dentists can create an environment where there is less strain and stress on the teeth, that will translate into fewer costly proce­dures for the patient as well as a more youthful appearance. Some dental and medical insurance companies are now covering a percentage of the NTI's cost because they have been proven to be so useful in terms of prevention. And prevention is the best medicine! Go to www.theheadacheremedy.com to find out more about the NTI.
You can contact Margaret Shaw D.D.S., P.A. by calling Family Dentistry in Ovilla at 972-223-0313.

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Ovilla Family Dentistry
105 Ovilla Creek Court • Ovilla, TX 75154
info@OvillaFamilyDentistry.com • 972-223-0313