Clenching Teeth Vs. Grinding Teeth
Unconscious or involuntary tapping, grinding or clenching of teeth is known as Bruxism. It is done occasionally by most people with no harmful effects. However, one in every ten people is in the habit of continuously grinding or clenching their teeth so much so that it can damage their health. Some people clench or grind their teeth during the day but most of them are in the habit of grinding their teeth at night, in their sleep.
How are clenching and grinding different from each other?
Grinding and clenching both, are types of bruxism and are caused by the same reasons. However, as they involve different muscle motions, the results of both are a little different from each other. Both activities involve a forceful interaction between the lower and upper set of teeth. The activities involve the jaw muscles which let the teeth clench and grind. Even though grinding includes the clenching action of teeth, clenching does not include the grinding motion. People who frequently involve in teeth grinding repeatedly move their teeth forward and back or from side to side, using their jaw muscles and producing an unpleasant noise in the process that can often wake their sleeping partners during the night. In contrast, clenching does not involve jaw muscle or teeth activity. It is simply a silent and forceful pressure on the teeth and jaws. In short, grinding involves teeth and jaw motion during while clenching. (Teeth Grinding = Teeth Movement + Teeth Clenching)
As teeth clenching exerts enormous pressure on the facial muscles and other portions of the jaw, the activity can result in jaw pain, headache, temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ) and earache. Grinding of teeth can put extreme pressure on the jaws and result in jaw problems, headache and earache. In addition to that, it can wear teeth, loosen teeth or make the enamel of the teeth to crack or chip.
There are several causes of Bruxism, but the most common one is stress, or a kind of dental problem like misalignment of teeth. Consulting a dentist is essential to diagnose any such problems which could be treated by an orthodontist, to prevent any further damage as a result of bruxism. in case, you are unable to detect any physical problems, it might be a good idea to seek some kind of therapy for stress-relief.
Teeth grinding and clenching can be cured by using a night guard of good quality. A Night guard should generally be used to relieve and safeguard the teeth and jaws from any further damage. Night guards are not be used as a remedy for bruxism.