Differences between inhibitory jaw reflexes evoked by stimulation of tooth pulp and across the adjacent alveolar process in man

Nadia Gardner, James P. Newton, Andrew G. Mason, Samuel W. Cadden

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    objective: in humans, stimulation of nerves in or around teeth can evoke inhibitory jaw reflexes. Previous studies had suggested that there may be subtle differences in the timings of the responses. The aim of the present study was to investigate this by comparing reflexes evoked by electrical stimulation of a tooth and of the adjacent tissues in individual subjects.

    Design: Experiments were performed on 9 volunteers (3 male, 6 female). EMG recordings were made from the masseter muscle ipsilateral to the stimuli, whilst the subjects maintained a steady level of activity in the muscle. Reflexes were evoked by applying stimuli to an incisor tooth (pulpal stimuli) or across the adjacent alveolar process (transalveolar stimuli), using bipolar electrodes.

    Results: Two inhibitory responses were evoked in most (8/9) subjects. The first occurred at a shorter latency after transalveolar than after pulpal stimulation (12.3 +/- 0.5 ms vs 19.4 +/- 1.5 ms; P = 0.0014, paired t-test). For technical reasons, it was not possible to make such comparisons for the second inhibitory responses in all the subjects. In S subjects where such a comparison was possible, the mean latency of the transalveolar-evoked response was again shorter than that of the pulpal-evoked response (56.4 +/- 2.8 ms and 58.8 +/- 5.3 ms, respectively), but this difference was not significant (P = 0.5).

    Conclusions: It appears that inhibitory jaw reflexes evoked from around the teeth are faster than those from the dental pulp. This observation could be due to differences between the peripheral afferent and/or the central pathways mediating the reflexes. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)575-582
    Number of pages8
    JournalArchives of Oral Biology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


    • jaw reflex
    • pulp
    • transalveolar
    • periodontium
    • nerves
    • latency
    • NERVES
    • TEETH


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