Interepisode Sleep Bruxism Intervals and Myofascial Face Pain

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Abstract

Study Objectives

Sleep bruxism (SB) is considered as a possible etiological factor for temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain. However, polysomnographic (PSG) studies, which are current “gold standard” diagnostic approach to SB, failed to prove an association between SB and TMD. A possible explanation could be that PSG studies have considered only limited characteristics of SB activity: the number of SB events per hour and, sometimes, the total duration of SB per night. According to the sports sciences literature, lack of adequate rest time between muscle activities leads to muscle overloading and pain. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine whether the intervals between bruxism events differ between patients with and without TMD pain.

Methods

Two groups of female volunteers were recruited: myofascial TMD pain group (n=124) and non-TMD control group (n=46). From these groups, we selected 86 (69%) case participants and 37 (80%) controls who had at least two SB episodes per night based on PSG recordings. A linear mixed model was used to compare case and control groups over the repeated observations of interepisode intervals.

Results

The duration of interepisode intervals was statistically similar in the case (mean [standard deviation {SD}] 1137.7 [1975.8] seconds)] and control (mean [SD] 1192.0 [1972.0] seconds) groups. There were also a similar number of SB episodes per hour and a total duration of SB episodes in both groups.

Conclusions

The current data fail to support the idea that TMD pain can be explained by increasing number of SB episodes per hour of sleep or decreasing the time between SB events.

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