The aim of this study was to assess a simple method of measuring relaxation rate in the jaw-closing system for the purpose of quantifying jaw muscle fatigue. A summary of the various different methods of measuring relaxation rate is also provided. The rates of twitch contraction and relaxation were measured in 30 symptom-free subjects following bilateral direct electrical stimulation of the masseter muscles. The resulting twitch force was recorded via a force transducer placed between the anterior teeth. The transducer was held between the teeth with as little force as possible while four single stimuli were delivered at 5-s intervals.: The stimulating electrodes were then removed and replaced and the experiment was repeated. The force records of the resulting twitches were averaged and the half-contraction time, twitch amplitude and half-relaxation time were measured. There was a significant difference in half-relaxation time between males and females, being faster in females (P=0.0045, independent t-test). No significant difference was found in twitch amplitude and half-contraction time between males and females. Half-relaxation time and half-contraction time were independent of twitch amplitude. This method of measuring the relaxation rate of the masseter muscles was found to be practical and the results were reproducible between sessions.
- Relaxation rate
- Electrical stimulation