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Temporomandibular disorders in patients with polysomnographic diagnosis of sleep bruxism: a case–control study



Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is a collective term that refers to complaints of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, fatigue and/or pain of the craniocervical muscles, limitation of movement of the mandible, and TMJ noises. Sleep bruxism (SB) is a disorder involving rhythmic (phasic) or non-rhythmic (tonic) masticatory muscle activity during sleep and is not a movement disorder or a sleep disorder in otherwise healthy individuals. The present study aimed to support or reject the null hypothesis that there is no association between SB and TMD.


The study population was recruited from patients who visited the Artmedica Clinic, Mossoro city, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Patients who underwent polysomnography received information about the research and were invited to participate following the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The study sample consisted of 40 individuals with age ranging from 19 to 76 years. The subjects were administered the questionnaire of the European Academy of Craniomandibular Disorders (AEDC). Those who answered affirmatively to at least one question of the questionnaire were recommended to visit the primary researcher’s dental clinic for examination; those who met the Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (DC/TMD) were evaluated, and their condition was classified into one or more subtypes of TMD. The subjects were divided into 4 groups according to the polysomnographic findings and the responses to the AEDC questionnaire. Of the 40 individuals who answered the AEDC questionnaire and underwent polysomnography, 28 presented with TMD symptoms. The data were expressed as simple frequency and percentage values using statistical software. Values of p < 0.05 were considered to be significant.


The results showed that the frequency of TMD in individuals diagnosed to have SB was 46.4%. According to the DC/TMD of the 28 individuals, the most prevalent TMD subtype was local myalgia (85.7%). Of the total subjects, 32.5% had TMD and SB, 36.4% were males, and in the age range of 31 to 40 years (40%).


In this study sample, there was no association between SB as currently defined and TMD, thus confirming previous findings on this topic.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.S.: Data acquisition and drafting of manuscript. M.W.: Critical revision and drafting of the manuscript. D.E.: Critical revision and drafting of the manuscript. R.J.: Data acquisition. A.S.G.: Study concept. M.G.: Drafting of the manuscript. M.M.e C.: Study concept and design, drafting of the manuscript, statistical analysis, and critical revision.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Miguel Meira e Cruz.

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Ethics approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. 2.913.404 and CAAE 92220718.4.000.5374.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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There persists mystery in clinical practice about sleep bruxism, accompanied by adherence to myth. This small study provides important distance between two common disorders.

Steve Carstensen


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Sinclair, A., Wieckiewicz, M., Ettlin, D. et al. Temporomandibular disorders in patients with polysomnographic diagnosis of sleep bruxism: a case–control study. Sleep Breath 26, 941–948 (2022).

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  • Temporomandibular disorders
  • Sleep bruxism
  • Polysomnography