Co-contraction behavior of masticatory and neck muscles during tooth grinding.

Research paper by Nikolaos Nikitas NN Giannakopoulos, Hans-Jürgen HJ Schindler, Daniel D Hellmann

Indexed on: 16 May '18Published on: 16 May '18Published in: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation


The objective of this study was to analyze the co-contraction behavior of jaw and neck muscles during force-controlled experimental grinding in the supine position. Twelve symptom-free subjects were enrolled in the experiment study. Electromyographic (EMG) activity of semispinalis capitis, splenius capitis, and levator scapulae muscles was recorded bilaterally with intramuscular fine-wire electrodes, whereas that of sternocleidomastoideus, infrahyoidal, suprahyoidal, masseter, and anterior temporalis muscles were registered with surface electrodes. EMG and force measurements were performed during tasks simulating tooth grinding on custom-made intraoral metal splints. The mean EMG activity normalized by maximum voluntary contraction (% MVC) of each of the neck muscles studied during grinding was analyzed and compared with previous data from jaw clenching at identical force (100 N) and (supine) position. The occurrence of low-level, long-lasting tonic activation (LLTA) of motor units was also documented. The mean three-dimensional force vector of the grinding forces was 106 ± 74 N. In the frontal plane, the incline to the midsagittal plane ranged between 10° and 15°. In the midsagittal plane, the incline to the frontal plane was negligibly small. Posterior neck muscle activity during grinding ranged between 4.5% and 12% MVC and during clenching with 100 N between 1.8% and 9.9% MVC. Masticatory muscle activity during grinding ranged between 17% and 21% MVC for contralateral masseter and ipsilateral temporalis and between 4% and 6.5% for ipsilateral masseter and contralateral temporalis. LLTA had an average duration of 195 ± 10 s. The findings from this study do not support pathophysiological muscle chain theories postulating simple biomechanical coupling of neck and jaw muscles. Co-contractions of neck and masticatory muscles may instead occur as a result of complex neurophysiological interactions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.