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Which is Worse, Grinding or Clenching?

Posted on 8/25/2016 by Dr. Frank Sallustio
A woman constantly grinding her teeth from stress.Bruxism, also known as the grinding and/or clenching of your teeth, can have a big impact on the health of your mouth. It can happen during the day or at night, when it is known as sleep bruxism. It is caused by any number of factors, such as stress, sleep disorders or as a side effect of a medication. Some people clench and grind while others do one or the other. But which one is worse?

Difference Between Clenching and Grinding

When you clench your teeth, you are biting down hard. A significant amount of pressure is put on your teeth, but you are not moving your jaw. Instead, it stays still. Grinding, on the other hand, is biting down extremely hard and moving the jaw either side to side or front to back.

Jaw Pain Symptoms

Symptoms of clenching are not just located in the jaw. You can suffer jaw pain, stiffness and difficulty opening your mouth and chewing. Much of this pain is located in the joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint. You may also experience ear pain and headaches.

With grinding, you may experience some or all of the same symptoms as clenching along with some other physically noticeable issues. Your teeth may become worn, exposing dentin and making your teeth weak and sensitive. They may crack or break. Your gums may recede and you might notice your teeth have become loose.

Which is Worse?
Both clenching and grinding are uncomfortable problems. The pain may become unbearable. While both problems are fairly similar, the jaw movement involved with grinding makes it worse for your teeth, wearing them down and making them more likely to break or even fall out.

If you clench or grind your teeth (or even if you do both), you should speak with your dentist. A complete evaluation can assess the severity of the damage and possibly even find the cause. You can also discuss your options for treatment. No matter if you do one or the other or both, fixing your bruxism can save your mouth from a significant amount of pain and problems.

Please contact us if you have any questions about teeth grinding.
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Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics
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Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486
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Frank Sallustio, DDS, 13802 West Camino Del Sol, Suite 102, Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486 / (623) 975-0796 / / 6/24/2022 / Associated Words: about us,prosthodontist,prosthodontist sun city west