Occlusal dysesthesia: A qualitative systematic review of the epidemiology, aetiology and management

E. S. Hara, Y. Matsuka, H. Minakuchi, G. T. Clark, Takuo Kuboki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Occlusal dysesthesia refers to a persistent complaint of uncomfortable bite sensation with no obvious occlusal discrepancy. This systematic review aimed to draw a picture of such patients, to present an agreement of previously reported diagnostic criteria and to analyse the evidence level of the recommended management approaches. An electronic search for all relevant reports on occlusal dysesthesia was thoroughly performed based on previous nomenclatures (e.g. phantom bite, occlusal hyperawareness) in PubMed and The Cochrane Library in July, 2011. A total of 84 reports were matched, among which only 11 studies were included after a two-step (abstract and detailed full-text revision) screening process. Additionally, a thorough manual review of reference lists of the included reports enabled the inclusion of two additional studies. Data analysis revealed that 37 occlusal dysesthesia patients presented a mean age of 51·7±10·6years and were predominantly women (male/female: 1/5·1) with symptom duration of more than 6years (average: 6·3±7·5years) and with concomitant psychological disturbances (e.g. mood disorders, somatoform disorders, personality disorders). Only four authors presented diagnostic criteria for occlusal dysesthesia, which served as the basis for an agreement in the diagnostic criteria. Treatment approaches included psychotherapy, cognitive/behaviour therapy, splint therapy and prescription of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs. Classification of evidence level of management approaches, however, revealed that most of them were expert opinions with single- or multiple-case report(s). Future studies are necessary for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind the occlusal dysesthesia symptoms, and consequently, for improvements in evidence-based management approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-638
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of oral rehabilitation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Neuroplasticity
  • Occlusal dysesthesia
  • Occlusal hyperawareness
  • Phantom bite
  • Proprioception dysfunction
  • Somatoform disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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