Reevaluating Antidepressant Selection in Patients With Bruxism and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

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Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a broad pain disorder that refers to several conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint of the jaw and the muscles of mastication. As with most pain disorders, a high prevalence of depression and anxiety is associated with TMD. Research has shown that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the first-line drug therapy for major depressive disorder, may not be suitable for TMD patients because SSRIs can induce teeth-grinding, otherwise known as bruxism. This is problematic because bruxism is believed to further exacerbate TMD. Therefore, the purpose of this literature review is to better understand the mechanism of SSRI-induced bruxism, as well as discuss alternative antidepressant options for treating depression and anxiety in patients with bruxism and TMD. Alternative classes of antidepressants reviewed include serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, atypical antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Findings indicate that dopamine agonists and buspirone are currently the most effective medications to treat the side effects of SSRI-induced bruxism, but results regarding the effectiveness of specific antidepressants that avoid bruxism altogether remain inconclusive.

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