The NTI-tss device for the therapy of bruxism, temporomandibular disorders, and headache - where do we stand? A qualitative systematic review of the literature

BMC Oral Health. 2008 Jul 29;8:22. doi: 10.1186/1472-6831-8-22.


Background: The NTI-tss device is an anterior bite stop, which, according to the manufacturer, is indicated for the prevention and treatment of bruxism, temporomandibular disorders (TMDs), tension-type headaches, and migraine. The aim of this systematic review was to appraise the currently available evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of the NTI-tss splint.

Methods: We performed a systematic search in nine electronic databases and in NTI-tss-associated websites (last update: December 31, 2007). The reference lists of all relevant articles were perused. Five levels of scientific quality were distinguished. Reporting quality of articles about randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was evaluated using the Jadad score. To identify adverse events, we searched in the identified publications and in the MAUDE database.

Results: Nine of 68 relevant publications reported about the results of five different RCTs. Two RCTs concentrated on electromyographic (EMG) investigations in patients with TMDs and concomitant bruxism (Baad-Hansen et al 2007, Jadad score: 4) or with bruxism alone (Kavakli 2006, Jadad score: 2); in both studies, compared to an occlusal stabilization splint the NTI-tss device showed significant reduction of EMG activity. Two RCTs focused exclusively on TMD patients; in one trial (Magnusson et al 2004, Jadad score: 3), a stabilization appliance led to greater improvement than an NTI-tss device, while in the other study (Jokstad et al 2005, Jadad score: 5) no difference was found. In one RCT (Shankland 2002, Jadad score: 1), patients with tension-type headache or migraine responded more favorably to the NTI-tss splint than to a bleaching tray. NTI-tss-induced complications related predominantly to single teeth or to the occlusion.

Conclusion: Evidence from RCTs suggests that the NTI-tss device may be successfully used for the management of bruxism and TMDs. However, to avoid potential unwanted effects, it should be chosen only if certain a patient will be compliant with follow-up appointments. The NTI-tss bite splint may be justified when a reduction of jaw closer muscle activity (e.g., jaw clenching or tooth grinding) is desired, or as an emergency device in patients with acute temporomandibular pain and, possibly, restricted jaw opening.