Sleep bruxism: a comprehensive overview for the dental clinician interested in sleep medicine

Dent Clin North Am. 2012 Apr;56(2):387-413. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2012.01.003.


Sleep bruxism (SB) is a common sleep-related motor disorder characterized by tooth grinding and clenching. SB diagnosis is made on history of tooth grinding and confirmed by polysomnographic recording of electromyographic (EMG) episodes in the masseter and temporalis muscles. The typical EMG activity pattern in patients with SB is known as rhythmic masticatory muscle activity (RMMA). The authors observed that most RMMA episodes occur in association with sleep arousal and are preceded by physiologic activation of the central nervous and sympathetic cardiac systems. This article provides a comprehensive review of the cause, pathophysiology, assessment, and management of SB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Masticatory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Occlusal Splints
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Arousal Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Bruxism / complications
  • Sleep Bruxism / etiology
  • Sleep Bruxism / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Bruxism / therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / etiology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents