Objectives: To review the elements of static analysis in the functional assessment of the stomatognathic system, as promoted for more than a century by gnathologists, and summarize the available scientific evidence, including anthropologic observations.
Schlagwörter: dental occlusion, gnathology, oral function, real-world data, temporomandibular disorder, tooth wear
Method and materials: A thorough search was conducted using PubMed, the Cochrane Library database, and Google Scholar. From peer-reviewed articles and other scientific literature, up-to-date information addressing three topics was identified: (a) the anthropologic perspective with particular consideration for the role of progressive dental wear over time, (b) descriptions of gnathologic principles and evidence on their scientific validity, and (c) the methodologic inaccuracies introduced by seeking to correlate variables directly rather than allowing for causal inference.
Results: For decades gnathology attempted to describe a structure-function correlation within the stomatognathic system by means of a model whose principles were static and mechanistic references. No scientific validation was ever achieved, placing clinical and research consensus out of reach.
Conclusions: A historical perspective helps to place the fundamentals of gnathology into context: They were conceived to solve technical difficulties but were then assumed to be physiologic stereotypes. This misconception led to a decades-long promotion of mechanistic theories to describe oral function, but the evidence available today supports a more flexible and adaptable approach. Gnathologic arguments have been relegated to become exclusively of technical relevance in oral rehabilitation.