(Daniele Manfredini & Frank Lobbezoo, 2018)

Bruxism is a phenomenon of growing interest for many researchers and clinicians of different medical fields (i.e., dentistry, neurology, psychology, sleep medicine). Bruxism is commonly considered the cause of some clinical symptoms (e.g., orofacial pain, temporomandibular disorders), signs (e.g., tooth wear), and dental complications (e.g., failure of restorations). Nonetheless, despite being a hot topic for many professional communities, there are still several issues to clarify for achieving a proper evaluation and management of such condition.

Based on the above, a basic need is to speak a “common language” between the different medical specialties. Recently, an international expert group reached consensus to define it as follows (Lobbezoo et al., J Oral Rehabil 2013 – Expert Consensus Paper 1.0):

Bruxism is a repetitive jaw-muscle activity characterized by clenching or grinding of the teeth and/or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible. Bruxism has two distinct circadian manifestations: it can occur during sleep (indicated as sleep bruxism) or during wakefulness (indicated as awake bruxism)’.

There are suggestions that bruxism activities are different entities, with different etiology and clinical relevance, as well as different consequences on the stomatognathic structures. Within these premises, it is fundamental that bruxism is measured in its physiopathological continuum in terms of frequency and intensity. In addition, the different motor activities should be correlated with specific clinical manifestations, if any, and with specific subjective reports.

The Expert Consensus Paper 2.0, available soon, will get deeper into these issues, from a better distinction of bruxism phenomena with respect to the circadian rhythm to a clearer characterization of the different motor activites, and will present a research agenda for the near future.

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