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Bruxism - (tooth-grinding or teeth-clenching)
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Bruxism - (tooth-grinding or teeth-clenching)

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The goal of treatment is to prevent permanent damage to your teeth and reduce pain caused by bruxism. Treatment for bruxism varies depending on the cause:

  • Stress. For bruxism related to stress, your doctor may recommend professional counseling, psychotherapy, physical therapy or stress management techniques. He or she may also prescribe a muscle relaxant medication to temporarily ease the spasm in your clenched jaw.

  • Dental problems. If your bruxism seems to stem from dental problems, your dentist may correct misaligned teeth. In severe cases, he or she may need to use overlays or crowns to entirely reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth. A mouth guard or protective dental appliance may be helpful if bruxism is severe enough to cause extensive damage to your teeth.

  • Brain injury or neuromuscular illness. Bruxism related to brain injury or neuromuscular illness can be difficult to treat. Your doctor may suggest that you use a mouth guard.

  • Medication. If you develop bruxism as a side effect of antidepressant medication, your doctor can change your medication or prescribe another medication to counteract your bruxism. Studies indicate that the drug gabapentin (Neurontin) may successfully treat bruxism caused by antidepressant therapy.


If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem with professional counseling or strategies that promote relaxation, such as exercise and meditation. Cutting down on your daily intake of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine also may help, since bruxism seems to worsen with these substances.

Children and adults can prevent damage caused by bruxism by wearing a mouth guard or bite plate. These dental appliances are worn when you're most likely to brux, to prevent your teeth from grinding together. Over-the-counter mouth guards are available, but generally don't fit well and can dislodge during bruxing. Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard to fit your mouth.


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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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