Thesis: Information on Jaw Reflexes

Sample Thesis Paper

During feeding, feedback from oral receptors is important in the control of mastication so as to avoid taking in too much food. This is achieved through the jaw closing reflexes. They are a response to stimuli in and around the oral cavity, as well as swallowing. However their amplitude may be affected by nociceptive stimuli and stress. A study was done on human subjects that showed that stimulation of remote nociceptive, but not non-nociceptive, deep somatic nerves can affect jaw reflexes in humans. (Maillou 1997) This is a manifestation of the phenomena known as diffuse noxious inhibitory controls which act through inhibitory paths that originate in the medulla and produce post-synaptic inhibition of intermediate neurones in the trigeminal nuclei.

The theory that jaw reflexes are involved in chewing and feeding was put to test in a study by Hassanali et al in 1997 by checking the impulse generating abilities of incisors, canines and molars in baboons and monkeys. This study found that the caudal periodontal mesencephalic nucleus of the trigeminal is well placed t make collateral connections with the trigeminal nucleus for jaw reflexes. The anterior teeth had more projections to this mesencephalic nucleus, pointing to their grater role in jaw reflexes which results in proper mastication.

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