Behavioral problems and emotional stress in children with bruxism

Adriana do Vale Ferreira-Bacci, Carmen Lúcia Cardoso Cardoso, Kranya Victoria Díaz-Serrano
Brazilian Dental Journal 2012, 23 (3): 246-51
Bruxism has a multifactorial etiology, and psychosocial factors have been considered to increase the risk of occurrence of this parafunction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the behavior profile of a group of children diagnosed with bruxism. Eighty 7-11-year-old children of both genders (mean age 8.8 years) first recruited as eligible participants. Twenty-nine children (18 males and 11 females) whose parents/guardians reported to present frequent episodes of tooth grinding/clenching while awake or during sleep (at least 3 nights a week) in the previous 3 months were enrolled in the study. The diagnosis of bruxism was established based on the parents/guardians' report about the children's behavior, habits and possible discomforts in the components of the stomatognathic system allied to the presence of signs and symptoms such as pain on the masticatory muscles, masseter muscle hypertrophy, wear facets, fractures of restorations, dental impressions on the cheek mucosa and tongue. As part of the psychological evaluation, the Rutter's Child Behavior Scale-A2 was applied to the parents/caregivers (one for each child) and the Child Stress Scale was applied to the children. Data were analyzed descriptively based on the frequency of each studied variable. Twenty-four (82.76%) children needed psychological or psychiatric intervention; 17 of them presented neurotic disorders and 7 children presented antisocial disorders. Six (20.70%) children presented significant physical and psychological manifestations of stress. The findings of the present study suggest that behavioral problems and potential emotional problems can be risk factors to bruxism in children.


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