In a series of recent publications, orofacial researchers have debated the question of how ‘bruxism’ should be defined for the purposes of accurate diagnosis and reliable clinical research. Following the principles of realism-based ontology, we performed an analysis of the arguments involved. This revealed that the disagreements rested primarily on inconsistent use of terms, so that issues of ontology were thus obfuscated by shortfalls in terminology. In this paper, we demonstrate how bruxism terminology can be improved by paying attention to the relationships between (1) particulars and types, and (2) continuants and occurrents.
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