Dentists occasionally experience occlusal dysaesthesia (OD) patients, who complain of bite discomfort without evident occlusal abnormalities. It is suggested that this condition is related to somatosensory abnormalities of the trigeminal system and/or psychological problems such as somatoform disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics of OD with a bio-psycho-social approach. Twelve OD patients (10 women, two men; mean age 54·7years) and twelve healthy volunteers (10 women, two men; mean age 54·8years) were selected. They were assessed using (i) interdental thickness discrimination ability test using 2-, 5- and 10-mm-thick standard blocks and 12 test blocks that were thinner or thicker than the corresponding standard block and (ii) psychological tests: General Health Questionnaire (GHQ60) and Profile of Mood States (POMS) brief-form. There was no significant difference in the interdental thickness discrimination ability between OD patients and controls (mixed-model anova, P=1·000). Regarding psychological tests, there were no significant differences between OD patients and controls in the total scores for either GHQ60 (P=0·143) or POMS brief-form (P=0·319) (Wilcoxon's test). However, OD patients showed significant differences from controls in several subscales, that is, 'somatic symptoms' (P=0·039) and 'severe depression' (P=0·039) for GHQ60 and 'depression-dejection' (P=0·014) and 'vigour' (P=0·008) for POMS brief-form (Wilcoxon's test). These results suggest there is no difference in interdental thickness discrimination ability between OD patients and normal controls, but OD patients tend to score higher on psychosomatic distress.
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