Neck function in rhythmic jaw activities
- Birgitta Häggman Henrikson
We have previously demonstrated the existence of a functional-rhythmical coupling between the head and the mandible using maxillary and mandibular incisal tracking points. However, that data did not provide information neither on the movement of the head as a whole nor on the location of its instantaneous centre of rotation. Thus, the objective of the present study was to determine whether the head undergoes a rotational motion during mouth opening and to locate its putative instantaneous centre of rotation. The same 6 d.f. (degree of freedom) measuring device employed in our previous studies was used again to analyse data from five male adults (age range: 26-29 years old) chosen as subjects. Concomitant head and mandibular movements were assessed in the sagittal plane by allocating several reference points in the head (upper incisor, cranial base, occipital and parietal points) and a mandibular incisor point during maximal mouth open-close movements. Then, the magnitude and inclination of the vectors of motion in each reference point during the opening phase were calculated. The instantaneous centre of rotation was defined as the point showing the least amount of motion in a determined area around each head reference point. The mandibular incisal point and the maxillary incisal point showed concomitant movements; that is, during opening the mandibular point moved downwards and the maxillary incisor point upwards. Making a large jaw opening movement caused an inferior-anterior displacement in the O point, a posterior-inferior displacement of the P point, and an anterior-superior displacement in the C point in all subjects. During jaw closing all points followed a trajectory opposite to that described above. In other words, during opening the head moved clockwise and counter-clockwise during closing, at least in the sagittal plane of the subjects' left side. These results suggest that the head undergoes a rotation-like sagittal movement during mouth opening whose rotation centre seems to be located above the cranial base point, which was set close to the centre of mass of the head. However, its location varies according to the magnitude of mouth opening.