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Sleep Bruxism in Children: A Narrative Review.

Current Pediatric Reviews 2023 September 16
Sleep bruxism, characterized by involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth and/or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible during sleep, is common in children. Sleep bruxism occurs while the patient is asleep. As such, diagnosis can be difficult as the affected child is usually unaware of the tooth grinding sounds. This article aims to familiarize physicians with the diagnosis and management of sleep bruxism in children. A search was conducted in May 2023 in PubMed Clinical Queries using the key terms "Bruxism" OR "Teeth grinding" AND "sleep". The search strategy included all observational studies, clinical trials, and reviews published within the past 10 years. Only papers published in the English literature were included in this review. According to the International classification of sleep disorders, the minimum criteria for the diagnosis of sleep bruxism are (1) the presence of frequent or regular (at least three nights per week for at least three months) tooth grinding sounds during sleep and (2) at least one or more of the following (a) abnormal tooth wear; (b) transient morning jaw muscle fatigue or pain; (c) temporary headache; or (d) jaw locking on awaking. According to the International Consensus on the assessment of bruxism, "possible" sleep bruxism can be diagnosed based on self-report or report from family members of tooth-grinding sounds during sleep; "probable" sleep bruxism based on self-report or report from family members of tooth-grinding sounds during sleep plus clinical findings suggestive of bruxism (e.g., abnormal tooth wear, hypertrophy and/or tenderness of masseter muscles, or tongue/lip indentation); "definite" sleep bruxism based on the history and clinical findings and confirmation by polysomnography, preferably combined with video and audio recording. Although polysomnography is the gold standard for the diagnosis of sleep bruxism, because of the high cost, lengthy time involvement, and the need for high levels of technical competence, polysomnography is not available for use in most clinical settings. On the other hand, since sleep bruxism occurs while the patient is asleep, diagnosis can be difficult as the affected child is usually unaware of the tooth grinding sounds. In clinical practice, the diagnosis of sleep bruxism is often based on the history (e.g., reports of grinding noises during sleep) and clinical findings (e.g., tooth wear, hypertrophy and/or tenderness of masseter muscles). In childhood, sleep-bruxism is typically self-limited and does not require specific treatment. Causative or triggering factors should be eliminated if possible. The importance of sleep hygiene cannot be over-emphasized. Bedtime should be relaxed and enjoyable. Mental stimulation and physical activity should be limited before going to bed. For adults with frequent and severe sleep bruxism who do not respond to the above measures, oral devices can be considered to protect teeth from further damage during bruxism episodes. As the orofacial structures are still developing in the pediatric age group, the benefits and risks of using oral devices should be taken into consideration. Pharmacotherapy is not a favorable option and is rarely used in children. Current evidence on the effective interventions for the management of sleep bruxism in children is inconclusive. There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations for specific treatment at this time.

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