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Cranio. 2019 Mar 21:1-7. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2019.1589703. [Epub ahead of print]

Jaw muscle activity patterns in women with chronic TMD myalgia during standardized clenching and chewing tasks.

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a Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive Sciences and Oral Sciences , University of Naples "Federico II" , Naples , Italy.
b Faculty of Dentistry , University of Toronto Centre for the study of Pain , Toronto , ON , Canada.



To examine jaw muscle activity of women with chronic temporomandibular myalgia (mTMD). It was hypothesized that mTMD patients had a different masticatory muscle activity, increased work during isometric clenching, and a reduced chewing frequency as compared to TMD-free subjects.


The electromyographic (EMG) activity of temporalis anterior (TA) and masseter (MM) of 27 women with mTMD and 18 TMD-free women was recorded during clenching tasks and while chewing. EMG indices comparing the activity of paired jaw muscles were computed.


Women with TMD myalgia had greater muscular work than controls (p = 0.025). The activity of TA and MM were similar between right and left sides in both groups. mTMD patients had a greater activity of MM than TA (p = 0.028). No between-groups differences were found in chewing rate.


Women with mTMD showed an abnormal recruitment of the jaw-closing muscles during functional tasks, which may predispose to further tissue injury.


Temporomandibular joint disorders; bruxism; chewing; masticatory muscles; surface electromyography

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