Purpose: Little is known about the effects of orthodontic treatment on oral motor function. The objective of this report is to evaluate changes in mandibular motion and maximum bite force that occur between the initiation of presurgical orthodontics and its completion before surgery. Patients and Methods: Fifteen patients (9 women, 6 men) with a variety of dentofacial deformities were examined before and after presurgical orthodontics. Mechanical advantage of the muscles and bite points, mandibular range of motion, maximum isometric bite force, and levels of electromyographic (EMG) activity in the anterior and posterior temporalis and masseter muscles during isometric bites were recorded on all subjects over time. Data obtained before and after completion of presurgical orthodontics were statistically compared. Results: Presurgical orthodontics reduced mandibular mobility somewhat, but the amount was not significant. Statistically significant reductions in bite force were noted after orthodontics for incisor, canine, premolar, and molar bite positions. No significant difference in the EMG/bite force slopes was obtained, nor was there any difference in the moment arms of the bite points or the muscles of mastication from orthodontics. Conclusions: This study showed significant changes in measures of oral motor function resulting from orthodontic treatment. A larger study is needed to confirm that these results will be similar in all orthodontic patients. There is no indication that these changes are the result of physiologic alterations of the muscles of mastication. The best current explanation is that these changes result from the pain and discomfort of the orthodontic appliances and the induced malocclusion. © 1995.
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