Aims: To test the hypothesis that estimates of time spent in tooth
contact are significantly greater than estimates of time spent clenching,
and to test the hypothesis that tooth contact is greater in pain
patients, particularly those reporting facial or head pain, than those
with pain elsewhere in the body. Methods: An anonymous, voluntary,
confidential questionnaire was administered to 235 patients
seeking care at a general medical clinic. The questionnaire assessed
demographic variables, presence and location of pain, and percentage
of time spent in tooth contact and in clenching. Analysis of variance
was used to examine differences among groups of patients;
logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of pain.
Results: All patients reported that the percentage of time spent in
tooth contact was significantly greater than the time spent clenching.
The same pattern of results emerged for those with and without
head pain, and those with and without any chronic pain problem.
Both tooth contact and clenching were significantly associated with
head pain. Conclusion: Results from the logistic regressions provide
convergent validity on the importance of oral parafunctions, specifically
tooth contact and clenching, to facial/head pain. For assessment
of oral parafunctional behaviors, inquiries that utilize clear behavioral
referents (tooth contact versus clenching) are likely to result
in more accurate estimates than behaviors with unclear definitions.
J OROFAC PAIN 2012;26:176–180
Key words: clenching, oral parafunction, pain, tooth contact