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New at-home bruxism monitoring device is highly accurate, researchers find

By Dental Tribune International
November 05, 2019

JOENSUU, Finland: In a new study, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland have developed a new, more affordable method of monitoring bruxism. While treatment usually looks at management of the condition, scientists believe that the expense of methods of evaluation, such as polysomnography, has inhibited investigation of the long-term efficacy of management methods.

In the study, part of a doctoral thesis project, the researchers worked with 13 male and 6 female volunteers between the ages of 12 and 32. Expanding on a screen-printed emergency electroencephalography electrode set previously developed by Finnish scientists, the team developed a method that allows polysomnographic sleep bruxism assessment to take place in the patient’s own home.

“The upgraded version of the electrode set is extremely well suited for accurate assessment of sleep bruxism severity. In fact, its diagnostic accuracy is similar to that of conventional polysomnography, when using the same methods for differentiating sleep bruxism-related activity from other nocturnal events,” said Tomi Miettinen, who undertook the research for his doctoral thesis.

While several user-friendly measuring devices are already available for consumers to use in the comfort of their own homes, the devices cannot always differentiate between sleep bruxism and other masticatory muscle activity, such as yawning and swallowing.

According to the study, nine out of ten at-home polysomnographic recordings were of good quality, and the electrical impedance of the electrodes was at an acceptable level 90% of the time. As the cost of polysomnography is so high, patients may only be able to afford one night of observation at a sleep laboratory, but the study presented supporting evidence for a previous finding of altered results for some patients on the first night of the sleep bruxism assessment. Additionally, out of the 101 recordings that took place, only one failed owing to problems related to the electrode set.

“The electrode set is especially well suited for recordings that are more demanding in assessing sleep bruxism activity accurately over the duration of several nights. The electrode set could be considered especially applicable for solving different research questions related to sleep bruxism, such as unclear connections between sleep bruxism activity and its presumed consequences and co-morbidities, as well as long-term efficacy of the management methods. As a tool, the electrode set has potential to increase our understanding of sleep bruxism, possibly resulting in more efficient methods to manage or even treat sleep bruxism,” concluded Miettinen.

The thesis results were published online on 12 August 2019 in an article titled “Polysomnographic scoring of sleep bruxism events is accurate even in the absence of video recording but unreliable with EMG-only setups” in Sleep and Breathing, ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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