Unveiling Myths About Bruxism

Understand the role of the Central Nervous System and misconceptions about BRUXISM treatments

Oscar Anacleto

8/21/20232 min read

Bruxism is a condition that affects many people, which can involve teeth grinding or clenching, or simply muscular contraction, occurring during sleep or while awake. There is a wide range of information circulating about its causes and treatments, but it's essential to grasp the scientific foundations surrounding this condition. We will explore the influence of the Central Nervous System (CNS) on bruxism and challenge myths related to orthodontic treatments and occlusal changes.

The Role of the Central Nervous System in Bruxism:

Contrary to common belief, bruxism is not primarily regulated by the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), which encompasses structures external to the brain and spinal cord. In fact, the root of the problem lies within the Central Nervous System (CNS), including the brain and spinal cord. CNS disorders, such as neurotransmitter alterations, sleep patterns, and stress response, play a pivotal role in the manifestation of bruxism, both during wakefulness and sleep.

Myths about Anatomical Causes:

It's often believed that anatomical features like dental occlusion, tooth position, and temporomandibular joint play a significant role in driving bruxism. However, research suggests that these factors are not the primary causes of bruxism. Instead, they might be secondary influences or even compensatory reactions to bruxism, which primarily originates from CNS dysfunctions.

Demystifying Ortho-Occlusal Treatments:

The belief that orthodontic treatments, occlusal adjustments, or changes in tooth position can resolve bruxism is questionable in light of the most recent scientific evidence. Given that bruxism is driven by the CNS and isn't merely a response to dental factors, such interventions may not be effective and, in some cases, could even be harmful. Focusing solely on occlusal adjustments without addressing the underlying causes of bruxism might not provide lasting relief.

The Importance of a Multidisciplinary Approach:

A more effective approach to bruxism treatment involves a comprehensive and multidisciplinary view. This includes collaboration between dentists, sleep physicians, neurologists, and/or other healthcare professionals. By understanding the intricate interaction between the CNS, sleep patterns, and emotional factors, professionals can develop more targeted and effective strategies for managing bruxism.


In conclusion, it's crucial to dispel misconceptions about the causes and treatments of bruxism. Recognizing that the Central Nervous System is the primary regulator of this condition allows us to avoid ineffective and potentially harmful approaches, such as purely orthodontic interventions. By adopting a multidisciplinary and evidence-based approach, patients can receive more effective and tailored treatment to control bruxism and enhance their quality of life.