What are the treatment options for teeth grinding (bruxism)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Treatment options for teeth grinding include no treatment, as many cases of bruxism are mild enough to need no treatment and children with bruxism often outgrow the disorder. For those with more severe cases, treatment includes:

  • stress management
  • dental solutions (like splints, mouth guards, or repairing misaligned teeth)
  • behavior modification (includes learning to hold the jaw properly and using biofeedback)

For most cases of teeth grinding, medications are not useful. A doctor may prescribe relaxants for use before bedtime or will change medication if a side effect was an underlying cause for the teeth grinding. Sometimes Botox injections are used to relax the jaw muscles.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Treatment depends on severity. In some cases, tooth grinding causes damage to teeth, headaches, and other problems, which must be addressed. Watch the animation to learn more about treatment options for tooth grinding.

There are a number of professional treatment options for bruxism (teeth grinding). Many times a custom nightguard fabricated by your dentist can relieve the discomfort and damage that can occur from teeth grinding. Biofeedback devices, as well as Botox injections, provide relief to over-functioning muscles (neuromuscular spasm) occurring in the head and neck region. Massage and physical therapy are often incorporated to relax tired muscles and reduce stress. Beyond these treatments, certain antidepressant medications, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil) have been shown to sometimes induce teeth grinding as a secondary effect. Your dentist should evaluate the use of these medications if bruxism is observed and consult with the prescribing physician.
There are several ways to cope with teeth grinding, which can damage teeth and cause jaw pain:
  • Stress relief. Many doctors believe that people grind their teeth because they feel chronically stressed out, angry, or frustrated. Finding a way to control stressful feelings could help put an end to teeth grinding. Some good stress-management approaches include talking to a psychotherapist, exercising more, meditating, or whatever works for you.
  • Oral devices. Talk to your dentist about using a dental splint or mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding.
  • Behavior therapy. A doctor or therapist who specializes in treating bruxism may be able to teach you behavioral techniques that can help you stop grinding your teeth.
People who grind their teeth may also need treatments to correct problems with improper tooth alignment.
Bruxism treatment depends on each individual’s situation. Your dentist may recommend stress reduction, or wearing a protective night guard over your teeth while you sleep. He or she may also recommend medications for pain or muscles spasms and fillings or other dental treatment to repair damaged teeth.

You can also help prevent teeth grinding by paying attention to your symptoms, making frequent dental visits and talking with your dentist.

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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.