Have you Ever Wanted to be a NINJA? Now you can Wear One.
Our NINJA (Neuro Inhibitory Night Guard for Joint Advantage) appliances are based on the same principles as the most commonly used anterior deprogramming type appliance known as the NTI-tss, but with a modification in the design that allows Dr. Tenholder to fully customize the appliance for the patient’s specific needs in conjunction with their overall treatment plan. This design is very comfortable and exceptionally efficient at reducing the symptoms of excessive muscular forces on the head and neck and decompressing the jaw joint.
The design of a similar appliance called the NTI-tss (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System) as an intraoral device, 510(k) product K981546, has been approved by the FDA for use in marketing for the current approved indications for use: For the prevention of chronic tension and temporal mandibular joint syndrome that is caused by chronic clenching of the posterior mandibular and maxillary teeth by the temporalis muscle.
According to studies and following eight weeks of
use of this appliance design, over 80% users had
a 77% average reduction in migraine events.
The best common-sense analogy to explain the way teeth are designed to work together is that the front teeth (incisors) are the “high-heeled shoes” of the mouth. The molars and premolars (back/chewing teeth) are the work boots and tennis shoes of the mouth. The canines (cuspids) are the “steering wheels” that allow your mouth to determine which kind of forces are to be placed on which teeth. The front teeth are pretty but not very functional. For example, you wouldn’t try running a marathon in high-heeled shoes. The front teeth are not designed to handle excessive forces, so when they perceive that the chewing muscles are working too hard on them, they will cause the body to have a reflex to turn those forces down (inhibit) to a level that these “pretty teeth” can handle. The inhibition or slowing down of the protective reflex using your own neurologic system is the magic behind the mechanism in this appliance design. Even though back teeth are designed to handle chewing forces, they are only supposed to be in contact for less than a total of 20 minutes in a 24 hour period of time.
When “things go wrong” in the body, whether it is an injury, a bad bite or many other potential causes, the muscles of the head and neck act as a dysfunctional family and go into a state of hyperactivity. This tooth clenching and grinding activity may result in damage to the teeth, jaw joint and nervous system. This damage most commonly occurs during the sleeping hours when the patient is unaware of their muscle contractions.
When we have a patient that has too much muscle function, we utilize this neurologic reflex to reduce the muscle tone as well as pain and further damage to the jaw joint (TMJ) and teeth. It relaxes the “whole family” of muscles, including those of the neck that work in conjunction with the facial muscles that are actually causing the clenching of the teeth. The result is a reduction in pain and dysfunction during the nighttime hours that is able to break the cycle of the bad habit of tooth clenching and grinding, even during the daytime.
As we all know, if there is one unhappy member of a family, the entire home feels the strain. The same applies to the family of muscles in the head and neck. The NINJA (neuroinhibitory night guard) is simply the peace maker of the family of muscles of the head and neck. The muscles are the criminals, the teeth are the victims. Allowing the muscles to be at peace results in a content and healthier family of muscles in the head and neck …which ultimately results in a happier patient!
The deprogramming appliances are often used in conjunction with other daytime appliances or as phase one treatment at Synergy Dental Solutions to decompress the temporomandibular joints and relax the muscles to give the head and neck muscles a much needed “time out” from overuse and fatigue during the daytime. Their design is specific for management of symptoms of migraine, headache and muscle soreness, not for directly treating the conditions of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) or sleep related breathing disorders/obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In fact, using this appliance design can worsen the symptoms associated with TMD and OSA if used inappropriately and unsupervised by a professional without the proper training in the multiple facets of craniofacial dental sleep medicine. After a thorough examination, Dr. Tenholder will recommend appliance selection, design and sequencing of therapy after examining the patient and personally discussing their treatment options with them.