Teeth Grinding

Specialties Geriatric


We have a gentleman in one of our facilities that has a diagnosis of alzheimers dementia. A couple of weeks ago he started to grind his teeth. He does it almost constantly.

We gave him gum...and it worked for several days. But now he either "pockets" the gum or just swallows it.

He is too confused to understand what not to do when we talk to him about it. It is very irritating to the other residents around him because it is so loud. And- I am afraid he is going to break a tooth or something.

Distractionredirection does not work. We can get him busy doing something but he grinds his teeth while he does it.

A dental consult was done to rule out pain.

A few years ago I had another resident that started doing the same thing and the psychiatrist suggested a medication that he said would probebly stop it. I think it was an anti-psychotic- but I am not sure. It was a low dose. It was not ativan- And whatever it was surprised all of us because we had never heard of it being used for "teeth grinding".

Does anybody have any idea what the drug might be?

Or do any of you have any other ideas of what we can do??? You all are usually very creative.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!!!


renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

No I don't know..........but I remember hearing about a med for teeth grinding....................................I did a websearch and got a bunch or articles and it says that bruxism is common with taking some antidepressants......is your client on one?


night owl

1,134 Posts

It could be Haldol. I've heard that it has been used for this problem. Also Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft my cause it.


4 Posts

We had a resident at the facility where I work who would grind her teeth when in pain. They tried the gum idea and it worked to some extent but when they determined she was in pain and got her some different meds the tooth grinding stopped. If you caught her grinding her teeth after that and asked her if she was hurting she would tell you she was, she has dementia also and didn't understand to ask for meds when she was in pain. Hope this helps. Good luck.


16 Posts

Is the teeth grinding a s/e of psycotrophic meds?

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

It can be. The Dr. put me on paxil once and I kept tongue rolling and trusting my tongue out of my mouth. I only took two pills to so that to me is scarey.



13 Posts

A lady where I work is prescribed Xanax BID d/t teeth grinding.

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