Research Topic

Orofacial Pain, Bruxism, and Sleep

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Task force on taxonomy of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”. Furthermore IASP says that orofacial pain is a frequent form of pain ...

Task force on taxonomy of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”. Furthermore IASP says that orofacial pain is a frequent form of pain perceived in the face and/or oral cavity. It may be caused by diseases or disorders of regional structures, dysfunction of the nervous system, or through referral from distant sources. The orofacial pain is a serious global problem which affects approximately 20% of human population each year.

Sleep disorders can interact with orofacial pain in many ways and these conditions can affect mutually. Thus far, no clear relationship has been found between sleep disorders and orofacial pain. Therefore, this issue requires further intensive research. One of the sleep movement activities is sleep bruxism, whose relationship with orofacial pain is unclear. According to the current approach, bruxism is considered as two different behaviours observed during sleep and wakefulness, respectively, and the single definition for bruxism has been replaced by two separate definitions:
1. Sleep bruxism is a masticatory muscle activity during sleep that is characterised as rhythmic (phasic) or non-rhythmic (tonic) and is not a movement disorder or a sleep disorder in otherwise
healthy individuals.
2. Awake bruxism is a masticatory muscle activity during wakefulness that is characterised by repetitive or sustained tooth contact and/or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible and is not a movement disorder in otherwise healthy individuals.

Even though the etiopathogenesis of bruxism is not fully understood, many different factors are believed to be associated with this muscular activity. An increasing number of evidence suggests a relationship between bruxism and other disorders, conditions or systemic diseases, including sleep breathing disorders, uncontrolled limbs movements during sleep, reflux disease, neurological disorders and orofacial pain.
This Research Topic aims to determine the nature of sleep bruxism and its types, as well as investigate the relationship between sleep bruxism and orofacial pain as well as different general health diseases, conditions and disorders.


Keywords: sleep, orofacial pain, sleep bruxism, sleep breathing disorders, sleep movement disorders, genetics, headache, hypertension, cardiovascular risk, thyroid disorders, temporomandibular disorders, xerostomia


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