Bruxism definition: Past, present, and future – What should a prosthodontist know?

D. Manfredini, J. Ahlberg, F. Lobbezoo

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2021 Editorial Council for the Journal of Prosthetic DentistryStatement of problem: The definition of bruxism has evolved, and the dental profession needs to align with the terminologies adopted in the current literature of sleep and orofacial pain medicine. Purpose: The purpose of this review was to discuss the recent evolution of bruxism concepts and the implications for changing the definition that is currently used by the prosthodontic community. Material and methods: A historical perspective on the evolution of the definition of bruxism, as well as a systematic literature review on the validity of polysomnography (PSG)-based criteria for sleep bruxism diagnosis to detect the presence of clinical consequences, is presented. Selected articles were read in a structured Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) format to answer the question “If a target population with conditions such as tooth wear, dental implant complications, and temporomandibular disorders (P) is diagnosed with sleep bruxism by means of PSG (I) and compared with a population of nonbruxers (C), is the occurrence of the condition under investigation (that is, the possible pathologic consequences of sleep bruxism) be different between the 2 groups (O)?” Results: Eight studies were eligible for the review, 6 of which assessed the relationship between PSG-diagnosed sleep bruxism and temporomandibular disorder pain, while the other 2 articles evaluated the predictive value of tooth wear for ongoing PSG-diagnosed sleep bruxism and the potential role of sleep bruxism in a population of patients with failed dental implants. Findings were contradictory and not supportive of a clear-cut relationship between sleep bruxism assessed based on available PSG criteria and any clinical consequence. The literature providing definitions of bruxism as a motor behavior and not pathology has been discussed. Conclusions: The bruxism construct has shifted from pathology to motor activity with possibly even physiological or protective relevance. An expert panel including professionals from different medical fields published 2 consecutive articles focusing on the definition of bruxism, as well as an overview article presenting the ongoing work to prepare a Standardized Tool for the Assessment of Bruxism (STAB) to reflect the current bruxism paradigm shift from pathology to behavior (that is, muscle activity). As such, dental practitioners working in the field of restorative dentistry and prosthodontics are encouraged to appraise this evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-912
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Bruxism definition: Past, present, and future – What should a prosthodontist know?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this