Current Sleep Medicine Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 104–111 | Cite as

Sleep Disorders and Chronic Orofacial Pain

  • Fernando G. ExpostoEmail author
  • Taro Arima
  • Peter Svensson
Sleep and Pain (L Ferini-Strambi, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sleep and Pain


Purpose of Review

Sleep disturbances have been linked to chronic pain disorders and it has been suggested that they affect each other in a circular fashion. However, with the exception of sleep bruxism and temporomandibular disorders, very little is known about the interaction between sleep and specific orofacial pain disorders. We aimed to review and evaluate the existing knowledge about the relationship between orofacial pain and sleep disorders. Furthermore, to elaborate on management options for patients with orofacial pain and sleep disorders.

Recent Findings

Orofacial pain disorders such as temporomandibular disorders, burning mouth syndrome, and painful post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy are reciprocally related to disturbances in sleep quality. Furthermore, in the case of temporomandibular disorders, it has been shown that sleep quality disturbances occur before pain onset. Regarding sleep bruxism, the recent literature seems to indicate that when sleep bruxism is assessed objectively (i.e., polysomnography), most sleep bruxism parameters do not seem to be able to explain temporomandibular disorder occurrence. Finally, very few studies have assessed the effect sleep quality improvement has on chronic orofacial pain parameters such as intensity and frequency.


In general, there is a lack of studies assessing the relationship between sleep disturbances and orofacial pain disorders, the exception being the relationship between sleep bruxism and TMD. The few studies that exist suggest an association between orofacial pain disorders and decreased sleep quality. As such, it is important that the orofacial pain clinician be aware of comorbid sleep disorders and a multidisciplinary and integrative approach should be used to manage these patients.


Sleep Sleep bruxism Obstructive sleep apnea Orofacial pain 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Svensson reports personal fees from Sunstar Suisse, outside the submitted work. Fernando Exposto and Taro Arima each declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando G. Exposto
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Taro Arima
    • 3
  • Peter Svensson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Section of Orofacial Pain and Jaw Function, Department of Dentistry and Oral Health, HealthAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  2. 2.Scandinavian Center for Orofacial Neurosciences (SCON)AarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Section of International Affairs, Faculty of Dental MedicineHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Dental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetHuddingeSweden

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