... Published research on hypnotherapy for bruxism - teeth grinding, teeth clenching

Published research on hypnotherapy for bruxism

The list is in chronological order of publication rather than in alphabetical order of authors as one of its aims is to provide an indication of the development of research over the years. Text below which set in green indicates links or a downloadable pdf.

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This page was last updated   11th October 2019


Journal of the American Society of Psychosomatic Dentistry and Medicine. 1973;20(3):75-91.8
The psychological, physiological and hypnotic approach to bruxism in the treatment of periodontal disease
Goldberg G

Summary not available


Minerva Med. 1983 Dec 30;74(51-52):2975-8
Indications for the use of hypnosis in the treatment of bruxism in relation to its psychosomatic nature
Gastone L.
Research is presented into the psychosomatic aetiology of bruxism with emphasis on the personality of the individual and his response to pain. An analysis of the various treatments proposed highlights the value of hypnosis as the ideal way to eliminate the psychological factors causing the onset of bruxism and to provide adequate relaxation while modifying pain perception.


American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 1991 Apr;33(4):248-53.Links
Suggestive hypnotherapy for nocturnal bruxism: a pilot study
Clarke JH, Reynolds PJ.
Division of Behavioral Sciences, Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Dentistry, Portland 97201-3097.Although one can find many case reports of hypnotherapy for bruxism, there is a paucity of scientific research on the subject. This study describes the use of suggestive hypnotherapy and looks at its effectiveness in treating bruxism. Eight subjects who reported bruxism with symptoms such as muscle pain and complaints of bruxing noise from sleep partners were accepted into the study. An objective baseline of the bruxing was established using a portable electromyogram (EMG) detector attached over the masseter muscle during sleep. Hypnotherapy was then employed. Both self-reports and posttreatment EMG recordings were used to evaluate the hypnotherapy. Long-term effects were evaluated by self-reports only. The bruxers showed a significant decrease in EMG activity; they also experienced less facial pain and their partners reported less bruxing noise immediately following treatment and after 4 to 36 months

International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis. 1991 Jul;39(3):145-54.
Hypnotherapy in the treatment of the chronic nocturnal use of a dental splint prescribed for bruxism
Wolfe. R.D.
enter for Psychological Stress, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Israel.
A behavioral medicine case is described in which the patient was treated with a combined approach involving both hypnoanalytic and hypnobehavioral techniques. A 55-year-old man with bruxism was referred after 10 years of craniomandibular treatment because of his dependency on a dental splint prescribed for nocturnal use. A projective hypnoanalytic exploration helped to uncover and consequently resolve an earlier conflict that had been reactivated in the patient's work situation and which had become a constant source of mental and muscular tension. The hypnoanalytic exploration was followed by a cognitive-behavioral hypnotic intervention that was tape-recorded and prescribed for bedtime practice. Pre- and posttherapy psychological, physiological, and self-report measurements corroborated the patient's sense of well being that came with his newly found ability to sleep without the dental splint. The importance of considering multiple etiological factors in the treatment of such psychosomatic disorders as bruxism is discussed



American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 1994 Apr;36(4):276-81
Understanding change: five-year follow-up of brief hypnotic treatment of chronic bruxism
LaCrosse MB..
Monroe Mental Health Center, Inc., Norfolk, NE 68701
In this paper I describe the treatment of a 63-year-old woman with a 60-year history of nocturnal bruxism. Treatment included assessment, two psychotherapy sessions, including a paradoxical behavior prescription to reduce daytime worrying, hypnotic suggestions for control of nocturnal grinding, and reinforcement of the patient's expectations for success. This case demonstrates how enduring change may occur rapidly in spite of the chronicity of a patient's complaint. Follow-up assessments at 2, 3, and 5 years revealed that she continued to be symptom-free with her self-reports corroborated by her spouse and family dentist. I discuss implications for understanding the role of hypnosis in therapeutic change.


American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 1999 Jan;41(3):212-25
Potential adjunctive applications of hypnosis in the management of periodontal diseases
Wood GJ, Zadeh HH.
Many uses of hypnosis in dentistry have been described in the literature including anesthesia, analgesia, anxiety management, treatment for bruxism, to control gagging, and the alteration of salivary flow and bleeding control during treatment. However, very few references have been made specifically regarding the use of hypnosis with patients who have periodontal disease, a wide spread chronic inflammatory disease affecting the oral cavity of about 80% of the population. The purpose of this paper is to describe potential adjunctive applications of hypnosis in the treatment of patients with periodontal diseases. The supporting literature from two broad areas for potential application, health behaviors and psychoneuroimmunology is discussed, followed by proposed hypnotic strategies and suggestions for use with patients with periodontal diseases.



Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology & Endodontics, Volume 90, Issue 1, Pages 54-63. 2000
Medical hypnosis for temporomandibular disorders: Treatment efficacy and medical utilization outcome
E.Simon, D.Lewis. 
The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a particular behavioral medicine treatment modality, medical hypnosis, on reducing the pain symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Methods: Twenty-eight patients who were recalcitrant to conservative treatment for TMD participated in a medical hypnosis treatment program and completed measures of their pain symptoms on 4 separate occasions: during wait list, before treatment, after treatment, and at a 6-month follow-up. In addition, pretreatment and posttreatment medical use were examined. Results: Statistical analysis of this open trial suggests that medical hypnosis is a potentially valuable treatment modality for TMD. Patients reported a significant decrease in pain frequency (F [3, 87] = 14.79, P < .001), pain duration (F [3, 87] = 9.56, P < .001), and pain intensity (F [3, 87] = 15.08, P < .001), and an increase in daily functioning. Analysis suggests that their symptoms did not simply spontaneously improve, and that their treatment gains were maintained for 6 months after hypnosis treatment. Further, after hypnosis treatment, patients exhibited a significant reduction in medical use.
Medical hypnosis appears to be an effective treatment modality for TMD, in terms of reducing both symptoms and medical use.



Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, & Endodontics. 93(4):429-434, April 2002.
Hypnorelaxation as treatment for myofascial pain disorder: A comparative study
Winocur, Ephraim , Gavish, Anat ,  Emodi-Perlman, Alona , Halachmi, Michele , Eli, Ilana
Background. Hypnorelaxation has a potentially beneficial effect in the treatment of masticatory myofascial pain disorders (MPD). However, there are no data regarding the efficacy of hypnorelaxation in the treatment of MPD compared with other accepted modes of treatment (such as occlusal appliance) or with the mere effect of time.  
Objective And Subjects. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of hypnorelaxation in the treatment of MPD compared with the use of occlusal appliance and/or to minimal treatment. The study population consisted of 40 female patients with myofascial pain who were allocated to 1 of 3 possible treatment groups: (1) hypnorelaxation (n = 15), (2) occlusal appliance (n = 15), and (3) minimal treatment group (n = 10).
Results. Both active treatment modes (hypnorelaxation and occlusal appliance) were more effective than minimal treatment regarding alleviating muscular sensitivity to palpation. However, only hypnorelaxation (but not occlusal appliance) was significantly more effective than minimal treatment with regard to the patient's subjective report of pain on the Visual Analog Scale.  
Conclusion. Hypnorelaxation is an effective mode of treatment in MPD, especially with regard to some of the subjective pain parameters.


Journal Dent, 33(6): 485-90, 6 June 2005.
Mood disorders in subjects with bruxing behavior
Manfredini D, Ciapparelli A, Dell'Osso L, Bosco M
OBJECTIVE: An investigation was conducted on 105 subjects to assess the existence of an association between mood psychopathology and bruxism. METHODS: Validated clinical criteria were used to diagnose bruxism and a self-report validated questionnaire (MOODS-SR) was filled out by each patient for an evaluation of depression and mania symptoms of mood spectrum. RESULTS: Prevalence of mood psychopathology, as identified by MOODS-SR score> or =60, was significantly higher in bruxers (11/38, 28.9% vs. 6/67, 8.9%; P=0.007).
Significant differences between bruxers and non-bruxers also emerged in total MOODS-SR (P=0.001) scores and in total scores of domains evaluating manic (P=0.001) and depressive symptoms (P=0.007).
CONCLUSIONS: Support to the existence of an association between bruxism and mood disorders has been provided. Further studies are strongly needed to clarify mechanisms underlying the described association..


Journal of Oral Rehabilitation. 33(7):496-500, July 2006.
Changes in neurophysiologic parameters in a patient with dental anxiety by hypnosis during surgical treatment
Eitner, S., Schultze-Mosgau. ,., Heckmann, J., Wichmann, M.,  Holst. S. 
SUMMARY: It was hypothesized that dental anxiety, which leads to neurophysiologic alterations in heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure prior, during and subsequent to dental treatment, can be influenced by medical hypnosis. We report the positive impact from non-invasive hypno-sedation during dental implant surgery on a 54-year-old female patient who experienced neurophysiologic reactions as a result of the psychosomatic process of dental anxiety (dental anxiety scale value = 13). The neurophysiologic changes during dental surgery performed with and without hypnosis were compared after the patient underwent the same surgical treatment protocol. This case report was part of a study designed to evaluate hypnosis as a non-invasive therapy for dental-anxious patients over six sessions using subjective experience and objective parameters, which included electroencephalogram, electrocardiogram, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation of the blood, respiration rate, salivary cortisol concentration and body temperature.


Journal of Oral Rehabilitation. 35(7):509-523, July 2008.
Principles for the management of bruxism
Manfredini D, Ciapparelli A, Dell'Osso L, Bosco M
Section of Prosthetic Dentistry, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pisa, Italy. daniele.manfredini@tin.it
The management of bruxism has been the subject of a large number of studies. A PubMed search, using relevant MeSH terms, yielded a total of 177 papers that were published over the past 40 years. Of these papers, 135 were used for the present review. Apparently, research into bruxism management is sensitive to fashion. Interest in studying the role of occlusal interventions and oral splints in the treatment of bruxism remained more or less constant over the years: between 1966 and 2007, approximately 40-60% of the papers dealt with this subject. The percentage of papers that dealt with behavioural approaches, on the other hand, declined from >60% in the first 2 decades (1966-1986) to only slightly >10% in the most recent decade (1997-2007). In the latter period, >40% of the papers studied the role of various medicines in the treatment of bruxism, while in the preceding decade (1987-1996), only approximately 5% of the studies dealt with the pharmacological management of bruxism. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the 135 papers have a too low level of evidence. Only 13% of the studies used a randomized clinical trial design, and even these trials do not yet provide clinicians with strong, evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of bruxism. Hence, there is a vast need for well-designed studies. Clinicians should be aware of this striking paucity of evidence regarding management of bruxism.




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