Masticatory muscle activity during deliberately performed oral tasks.

Research paper by M M Farella, S S Palla, S S Erni, A A Michelotti, L M LM Gallo

Indexed on: 01 Nov '08Published on: 01 Nov '08Published in: Physiological measurement


The aim of this study was to investigate masticatory muscle activity during deliberately performed functional and non-functional oral tasks. Electromyographic (EMG) surface activity was recorded unilaterally from the masseter, anterior temporalis and suprahyoid muscles in 11 subjects (5 men, 6 women; age = 34.6 +/- 10.8 years), who were accurately instructed to perform 30 different oral tasks under computer guidance using task markers. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, repeated measurements analysis of variance (ANOVA) and hierarchical cluster analysis. The maximum EMG amplitude of the masseter and anterior temporalis muscles was more often found during hard chewing tasks than during maximum clenching tasks. The relative contribution of masseter and anterior temporalis changed across the tasks examined (F 5.2; p < or = 0.001). The masseter muscle was significantly (p < or = 0.05) more active than the anterior temporalis muscle during tasks involving incisal biting, jaw protrusion, laterotrusion and jaw cupping, the difference being statistically significant (p < or = 0.05). The anterior temporalis muscle was significantly (p < or = 0.01) more active than the masseter muscle during tasks performed in intercuspal position, during tooth grinding, and during hard chewing on the working side. Based upon the relative contribution of the masseter, anterior temporalis, and suprahyoid muscles, the investigated oral tasks could be grouped into six separate clusters. The findings provided further insight into muscle- and task-specific EMG patterns during functional and non-functional oral behaviors.