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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

An Effective Solution for Tooth Grinding: Dr. David G. Lewis shares a non-BPA plastic device showing promising results.

Jun 27, 2015 03:13PM ● By David G. Lewis

Bruxism, a term used to describe clenching and grinding of the teeth, is very commonly seen among dental patients. Signs of bruxing include wear patterns, gum recession, defects or notches along the gumline, which is often sensitive, and sometimes face, jaw, head or neck pain. It is not uncommon for patients with advanced signs and symptoms to be totally unaware of their tooth grinding habit. A large percentage of patients treated for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) are actually suffering from sore muscles caused by bruxing rather than problems in the joints themselves.

The most common and effective treatment for bruxism involves placement of grinding appliances, often called splints, mouth guards or night guards, by dentists to separate the teeth and discourage the grinding habit. By far the most effective treatment for clenching/grinding is the use of a relatively new appliance called the NTI Tension Suppression System, a small, hard, non-BPA plastic device that fits snugly over the lower front teeth. Patients commonly report relief of head/neck/face pain, reduced soreness and sensitivity in teeth, ease of use compared with other devices and a more relaxed feeling after a night’s sleep when wearing their NTI.

Construction of an NTI appliance requires two simple visits about two weeks apart; impressions are taken and sent to a professional laboratory for fabrication, and then the appliance is placed and adjusted on the second visit. Advantages of the NTI include patient comfort and compliance due to its small size and unique design, which takes advantage of a reflex that prevents pushing too hard on the front teeth, relative ease of fabrication and placement, and reasonable cost.

Any person that is aware of a tooth grinding habit or has the signs or symptoms should consult with a dentist about treatment options for their condition. The NTI device is certainly the go-to treatment for bruxism and is a valuable tool for helping patients achieve better health and well-being.

Dr. David G. Lewis practices dentistry at 408 E. Southern Ave., in Tempe. For more information, call 480-967-4204 or visit