Occlusal sensitivity in individuals with different frequencies of oral parafunction

J Prosthet Dent. 2019 Aug;122(2):119-122. doi: 10.1016/j.prosdent.2018.10.006. Epub 2019 Mar 15.


Statement of problem: Oral parafunctional behaviors are characterized by an overuse of the masticatory muscles, thus applying aberrant occlusal force to the teeth for prolonged periods. However, whether increased periodontal receptor activity in individuals with a high degree of oral parafunction alters the occlusal sensitivity is unclear.

Purpose: The purpose of this clinical study was to evaluate occlusal sensitivity in adults reporting a high or low frequency of awake oral parafunctional behaviors, as assessed with the short version of the oral behavior checklist (OBC-It 6).

Material and methods: Self-reporting questionnaires (N=212) were distributed among dental and medical students. Individuals with an OBC-It 6 score below the 20th percentile (low-frequency parafunction (LFP) group: 13 men and 15 women) and above the 80th percentile (high-frequency parafunction [HFP] group: 11 men and 17 women) were selected for the occlusal sensitivity assessment. The occlusal sensitivity was tested with 10 different thicknesses: 9 aluminum foils ranging from 8 μm to 72 μm with a constant increment of 8 μm and 1 sham test without any foil. The testing foils were presented 10 times in random order (100 tests in total). The participants were instructed to close their mouth only once and to report whether they felt the aluminum foil between their teeth. A between-group comparison (HFP versus LFP) was performed for each testing thickness (Student t test for unpaired data, Bonferroni correction) (α=.005).

Results: For the sham test and for the testing thicknesses between 8 μm and 48 μm, no statistically significant differences were found between the 2 groups. The thicknesses 0.56 mm, 0.64 mm, and 0.72 mm were significantly better perceived in the HFP group than in the LFP group (P<.005, P<.001, and P<.001).

Conclusions: Individuals with a high frequency of self-reported awake oral parafunction presented higher occlusal sensitivity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bite Force*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masticatory Muscles*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires