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Volume 20 , Issue 4
Fall 2006

Pages 317324


The Occurrence of Spontaneous Functional and Nonfunctional Orofacial Activities in Subjects Without Pain Under Laboratory Conditions: A Descriptive Study

Takafumi Kato, DDS, PhD / Shiho Akiyama, DDS / Yumiko Kato, DDS / Shuichiro Yamashita, DDS, PhD / Yuji Masuda, DDS, PhD / Toshifumi Morimoto, DDS, PhD


PMID: 17190030

Aims: To assess the occurrence and the modality of spontaneous orofacial behaviors of awake healthy subjects without pain who were unaware of bruxism during wakefulness. Methods: Sixteen asymptomatic subjects read silently for 30 minutes while polygraphic recordings, including electromyographic (EMG) activity from masticatory and leg muscles, chest respiratory movements, and the movements and sounds of larynx, were made with simultaneous audio-video monitoring. Orofacial behaviors were scored based on the polygraphic and audio-video records. The activity and duration of masseter EMG bursts were calculated for the types of orofacial behaviors. Results: The number of orofacial behaviors varied between subjects; swallowing was most frequently observed. Approximately half of the orofacial behaviors occurred closely with body movements. Of all masseter EMG bursts detected, 55% were associated with functional orofacial behaviors, while 45% were regarded as nonfunctional. More than 80% of these masseter bursts lasted for less than 2 seconds, with an activity less than 20% of maximal voluntary clenching. These values did not differ between the types of associated orofacial behaviors. Conclusion: Although the occurrence of spontaneous orofacial motor activity is variable, asymptomatic subjects can exhibit substantial masseter bursts during wakefulness that are not associated with functional orofacial behaviors. The use of physiological and audio-video records permits spontaneous orofacial behaviors to be specifically identified, thereby allowing nonfunctional masseter EMG activity to be differentiated from functional masseter EMG activity. J Orofac Pain 2006;20:317324

Key words: bruxism, electromyography, polygraphic recording, spontaneous orofacial behaviors, wakefulness


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