Thesis: Function of Jaw Reflexes

Sample Thesis Paper

Different jaw reflexes not only signify integrity or abnormality of neuronal pathways and brainstem centers but also play a purposeful role in feeding and oral functions. This paper looks at the different types of jaw reflexes that can be elicited as well as their clinical and physiological importance. The different sorts of reflexes include the jaw jerk, myotactic reflex and the jaw opening and closing (inhibitory) reflexes.

Muscles of mastication play and important role in the production of these reflexes and so do the sensory organs such as the muscle spindles and the periodontal ligaments. Some disorders such as chronic neck and facial pain that result from arterial occlusion may result in the diminishing of some of these reflexes. It is also found that noxious stimulation to remote or deep parts of the body result in reduction of the inhibitory jaw reflexes. The findings indicate a role of these reflexes in the diagnosis of pathological states, and provide an insight into the mechanisms of mastication and feeding. These reflexes also explain common phenomena such as how the jaws need to be closed during comfortable swallowing.

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