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Etymology: ME, clenchen
the clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together in centric occlusion, frequently associated with acute nervous tension or physical effort, such as pushing or lifting a heavy object or performing a difficult task. See also bruxism.


1. Forcible, repeated contraction of the jaw muscles with the teeth in contact. This causes pulsating, bilateral contractions of the temporalis and pterygomasseteric muscles. It may be done consciously, subconsciously while awake, or during sleep. See: bruxism
2. Tightly closing the fist.


Nonfunctional tooth clamping in centric occlusion.

clenching (klen´ching),

n the nonfunctional, forceful intermittent application of the mandibular teeth against the maxillary teeth. It can become habitual and cause damage to the periodontium.
References in classic literature ?
Especially was this apparent in his sleep, when he suffered paroxysms of lawless dreams, groaning and muttering, clenching his fists, grinding his teeth, twisting with muscular tensions, his face writhing with passions and violences, his throat guttering with terrible curses that rasped and aborted on his lips.
I'm going to hurry,' said Claire, clenching her fists as two simultaneous bursts of song, in different keys and varying tempos, proceeded from the dining-room and kitchen.
She released herself and clenching her little hand, struck him with right good will.
By dint of roaring at the top of his voice under a flaring gaslight, clenching his fists, knitting his brows, setting his teeth, and pounding with his arms, he had taken so much out of himself by this time, that he was brought to a stop, and called for a glass of water.
The girl who, under the influence of these words, had gradually risen in anger and heightened in colour, answered, raising her lustrous black eyes for the moment, and clenching her hand upon the folds it had been puckering up, 'I'd die sooner
I tell you,' said the man: clenching his hands, and stamping furiously on the floor,--'I tell you I won't have her put into the ground.
At all events he went on with much greater firmness and force of emphasis: though with a curious disposition to set his teeth, and with a curious tight-screwing movement of his right hand in the clenching palm of his left, like the action of one who was being physically hurt, and was unwilling to cry out.
They can be treated because they are most likely caused by clenching your teeth whilst you are sleeping and occasionally throughout the day.
According to Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA), an increase in stress, such as that due to a tumultuous stock market, can cause teeth clenching and grinding, known as bruxism, a condition that can lead to worn down and broken teeth and jaw, neck and head pain.
Three minutes later, he began breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head.
Researchers believe that clenching the right fist activates the part of the brain that stores memories and clenching the left triggers an area that retrieves information.
Repeated clenching can lead to headaches, deterioration of teeth and even teeth being worn down to the jaw bone.