Identifying Jaw Clenching

By Pam Marshalla

Q: How do you tell if a client is clenching the jaw when producing a target phoneme?

The best way to determine if a client is clenching is to palpate the masseters.

Do this on yourself first to learn the feeling. Place your fingertips on your masseters and then clench. Do you feel the bulge?

Now do this with your client. If the jaw is clenching you will feel the muscle belly bulge. If it isn’t, then you won’t.

2 thoughts on “Identifying Jaw Clenching”

  1. I am working with a 4-year-old student who talks with his teeth clenched. It has a large impact on his speech intelligibility in conversational/connected speech. This is the first time I have worked with a student who has demonstrated these behaviors- Is teeth clenching with speech common? Are there any recommended speech therapy treatments? He has been receptive to verbal and visual models, with direct prompts to “open mouth wide” when producing the vowel sounds at the word level.

    -School-based SLP

  2. Hi Ally
    I am dealing with the same and am not sure where to start in treatment. I haven’t been able to find much information? did you have any luck?

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