Is there a cure for teeth grinding (bruxism)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
While not necessarily viewed as a cure for teeth grinding, treatment can be successful for many. Learning to control stress and practicing relaxation techniques works for many to end or reduce teeth grinding. Behavior therapy also helps. This involves learning how to properly hold the mouth and jaw or biofeedback methods to help the person with this condition learn when stress occurs and how to react to it.

Also, for some, no treatment is necessary as teeth grinding either resolves on its own (especially in children) or is never severe enough to require treatment.
Stephen Handisides
Health Education

Bruxism is a habit that affects around 8-10% of the population. It is broadly characterized by grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw that causes tooth wear and breakage, disorders of the jaw (pain and limited movement) and headaches. Bruxism occurs in both children and adults but is most common in 25-44 year olds. However, most people grind and/or clench their teeth occasionally to a certain degree.

There is no specific cure for bruxism and it is important to manage the consequences of the disorder. Various preventative measures including mandibular advancement devices, drugs, stress management and occlusal splints have been used. However all but occlusal splints have demonstrated adverse effects which reduces their appropriateness.

There is no known cure to stop someone from grinding. However, there is an oral appliance called a nightguard that can protect your teeth, jaw muscles and jaw joints from the damage that can take place from grinding. Yoga or other relaxation techniques may help to relieve stress and help to reduce grinding as well.

There are several specific treatments for bruxism, but no cure. Often, treatment for bruxism is not needed -- children can grow out of having this condition, and adults may not have it severely enough to need any treatment. Sometimes, when bruxism is related to stress or other psychological factors, it can be prevented by reducing stress or seeking counseling.
Before treating teeth grinding (bruxism) the cause must first be determined. You should speak with your dentist to help determine the cause. Teeth grinding can be caused by stress or anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked.

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.