Sleep bruxism; an overview of an oromandibular sleep movement disorder. REVIEW ARTICLE

Sleep Med Rev. 2000 Feb;4(1):27-43. doi: 10.1053/smrv.1999.0070.


Sleep bruxism (SB) is a stereotyped movement disorder characterized by grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep. The majority of the population will at some time during their lifetime grind or clench their teeth. It becomes a pathological condition when the subject presents severe tooth damage or complains of non-restorative sleep. The prevalence of SB is difficult to estimate, since quite often the subjects are unaware of having the disorder. There is no gender difference. SB is more frequent in the younger generation, with a decline over age. The symptom recognized in children can persist in adulthood. The aetio-pathophysiology is still unclear. SB has been associated with tooth interference, psychosocial and environmental factors, brain transmitters and basal ganglia dysfunction. Attempts have been made to specify the personality traits of bruxers, reported to be greater anxiety or vulnerability to stress; however, this is still controversial. SB subjects were observed to present vigilance-sleepiness and somatic problems. However, they are generally good sleepers. Some authors reported SB during all sleep stages, others observed the majority of bruxe episodes during light sleep and REM and often associated with arousal transients. No abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system could be shown in awake SB subjects. While some studies have shown an association between SB and PLM or breathing disorders, others did not confirm this. There is no specific treatment for SB: each subject has to be individually evaluated and treated. Three management alternatives are used: dental, pharmacological and psychobehavioural.