Conditions for excitatory or inhibitory masseteric reflexes elicited by tooth pressure in man

Türker K. S., Yang J., Brodin P.

Archives of Oral Biology, vol.42, no.2, pp.121-128, 1997 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/s0003-9969(96)00112-4
  • Journal Name: Archives of Oral Biology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.121-128
  • Keywords: tooth push, periodontal, masseter muscle, jaw reflexes
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: No


The reflex responses evoked by slowly rising pressure ('push') stimuli to an upper lateral incisor tooth in human masseter muscle were studied. Factors such as the preload (the static force applied to the tooth by the stimulus probe before the start of the push stimulus) and the shape of the stimulus wave affected the outcome of the reflex response. When the stimulating probe did not apply preload to the tooth before the push stimulus took place, the force profile exhibited a large fast component as the probe took up the 'slack' in the periodontium. The fast component in the force profile was found to be responsible for inducing the inhibitory reflex (sole inhibitory reflex). When preload was applied, the size of the fast component in the force profile was reduced and the change in force rate became slower and smoother. This slower stimulus profile induced the sole excitatory reflex significantly more often (58% vs 21%) and the sole inhibitory reflex significantly less often (15% vs 52%) than in the experiments that used no preload. The shape of the stimulus wave that drove the stimulus probe wits also of importance. Provided that a 0.5-N preload was applied to the tooth, the smoothest stimulus wave induced the sole excitatory reflex most often. Fitting a rubber attachment to the tip of the probe made the push-force profile even smoother and thence more successful in inducing the sole excitatory reflex. Furthermore, the rubber tip reduced the possibility of the probe slipping off the tooth due to small and unavoidable movements of the participant's head. It is concluded that the periodontal mechanoreceptors can induce both excitatory and inhibitory reflexes on the jaw closers. The excitatory reflex becomes dominant when a smooth force is applied with preload. The inhibitory reflex becomes dominant when fast-force changes are applied on the tooth and/or no preload is used.