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Res Dev Disabil. 2009 Sep-Oct;30(5):809-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Jan 31.

Treatment of bruxism in individuals with developmental disabilities: a systematic review.

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The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


We reviewed studies involving the treatment of bruxism (i.e., teeth clenching or teeth grinding) in individuals with developmental disabilities. Systematic searches of electronic databases, journals, and reference lists identified 11 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. These studies were evaluated in terms of: (a) participants, (b) procedures used to assess bruxism, (c) intervention procedures, (d) results of the intervention, and (e) certainty of evidence. Across the 11 studies, intervention was provided to a total of 19 participants aged 4-43 years. Assessment procedures included dental screening under sedation and interviews with caregivers. Intervention approaches included prosthodontics, dental surgery, injection of botulinum toxin-a, behavior modification, music therapy, and contingent massage. Positive outcomes were reported in 82% of the reviewed studies. Overall, the evidence base is extremely limited and no definitive statements regarding treatment efficacy can be made. However, behavior modification and dental or medical treatment options (e.g., prosthodontics) seem to be promising treatment approaches. At present, a two-step assessment process, consisting of dental screening followed by behavioral assessment, can be recommended.

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