Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Bruxism, defined as the gnashing, clenching, or grinding of the teeth, has been estimated to afflict 5-20% of the general population. Symptoms most commonly associated with bruxing include accelerated enamel loss, tooth abfractions, gum damage, headaches, and jaw and ear pain. Dentists frequently recommend dental restorative surgeries and management of symptoms with a bite splint following discovery of the patient's bruxing. With the health problems and high cost of bruxism care, treatments that effectively stop bruxism are needed.

The current study's purpose was to assess the efficacy of a biofeedback device on nocturnal bruxers. The device, Sleep Guard, has an EMG sensor that measures muscle activity in the frontalis muscle, which is associated with bruxing, as well as a tone generator which is activated once EMG levels breach a certain threshold. The device is fitted on a headband and is worn throughout sleep. Four participants were included in this study. When compared to baseline levels (the Sleep Guard device recorded EMG sans the feedback tone) the activation of the feedback tone resulted in reductions in average EMG levels of 51 to 79% for three participants. A fourth participant showed no decrements in average EMG levels while wearing the Sleep Guard device. The clinical utility of this device is discussed.

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