Jaw movement alters the reaction of human jaw muscles to incisor stimulation

Russell S.A. Brinkworth, Kemal S. Türker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The changes in the minimum time to consciously react (reaction time) and the order of jaw muscle recruitment to precisely controlled axial stimulation of the incisors during controlled jaw movements are not known. To this end, ten subjects were recruited to investigate the reaction time of bilateral temporalis and masseter muscles and bite force. Stimuli were delivered axially to the upper central incisors during active jaw closing and opening, and under static conditions. The results showed that the reaction time was increased an average of 35% during both jaw opening and closing movements when compared with static jaw conditions. The left temporalis was recruited approximately 10 ms before the right temporalis, whereas no significant side differences were found between the masseter muscles. The masseter muscles were recruited an average of 20 ms before the temporalis muscles during jaw closing, but no difference existed during opening. Under static conditions the reaction time in the bite force was approximately 16 ms longer than the left temporalis, but was not significantly different from the reaction time of any of the other muscles, indicating that, under the static conditions tested, the left temporalis was more often responsible for initiation of the mechanical reactions in the jaw. Because of active compensation, no force measurements were made during jaw movement. This study is a prerequisite for investigations into the modulation of reflexes during jaw movement, because a response to a stimulus commencing after the minimum reaction time may not be entirely reflex in origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Jaw physiology
  • Periodontal mechanoreceptors
  • Reaction time


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