Grinding vs. Clenching

When a patient presents with occlusal or incisal wear on their teeth the inevitable question is do you clench or grind your teeth? Grinding involves sliding your teeth across each other, while clenching is holding top and bottom teeth tightly together. Both conditions are called bruxism, and they present with the same symptoms. Symptoms included are as follows: headache/earache, sore jaw, jaw clicking, frequent toothaches, sensitive teeth, facial pain, worn/cracked teeth or fillings, tongue marks, or trouble sleeping.  The causes of bruxism can be stress, disorders, or malocclusion. Treatment can involve a night guard, medication for pain or muscle spasms, and exercises to manipulate the muscles. It may involve multiple treatment to get the condition under control.