Sleep bruxism

Historical note and nomenclature
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By Geoffrey Gerstner PhD DDS MS

In 1938, Miller introduced the term “bruxism” for bruxomania or repetitive teeth grinding (Miller 1938). However, one of the first recorded notations of this phenomenon was from Black, who commented, "Abrasion of the teeth may tend to remove the cusps of the teeth quite rapidly” (Black 1886). Later descriptions noted the potential effects of this disorder. In 1941, Bodecker described a patient whose bruxism had destroyed the clinical crowns of all the lower anterior teeth (Bodecker 1941).

Sleep bruxism and diurnal bruxism were not differentiated for several decades; however, the sleep-wake state dependence appears to demonstrate that these are distinct disorders that have different underlying causes and require different treatments.

Presently, the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD-2) classifies sleep bruxism as a simple, repetitive movement disorder (American Academy of Sleep Medicine 2005).