Limited knowledge of how routine dental treatment (rasping) alters the mastication cycle exists. To our knowledge, Masseter and Temporalis muscle activity after rasping has not been previously evaluated. A descriptive, experimental study compared muscle activity pre- and post-routine dental treatment using surface electromyography (sEMG) to investigate the hypothesis that Masseter activity would increase and Temporalis activity decrease, over a 6 week time period after routine dentistry. Motor unit action potential amplitude (MUAP) and peak amplitude contraction (PAC), for 5 chewing cycles, were measured using sEMG in the right and left Masseter and Temporalis muscles of 10 horses, selected opportunistically due to their dental pathology that required routine rasping (week 0). Routine dental treatment was undertaken and sEMG measurements repeated at 1, 3 and 6 weeks post treatment. Mean MUAP and PAC were calculated for each week and compared both across the cohort and for each horse. For the cohort: Temporalis MUAP fluctuated after rasping, but was only significant in the left muscle between weeks 0 and 6, and weeks 1 and 6 (P<0.02). PAC did not differ significantly, with the exception of a decrease occurring on the left from week 0 to 1 (P<0.01). Masseter activity varied throughout the investigation, but few significant differences were found. A non-significant but consistent reduction in magnitude of PAC was found. For the individuals: MUAP and PAC in the Masseter and Temporalis muscles varied (increased / decreased) on an individual basis throughout the six weeks post rasping, although only MUAP fluctuations between weeks were significant (P<0.01). Adaptation occurs in the Masseter and Temporalis of individual horses after routine rasping; this appears to be associated with kinematic changes within the chewing cycle and is still occurring 6 weeks post-treatment.
Williams, J., Johnson, C., Bales, R., Lloyd, G., & Quest, D. (2014). Analysis of Temporalis and Masseter adaptation after routine dental treatment in the horse via surface electromyography. Comparative Exercise Physiology, 4(4), 223-232. https://doi.org/10.3920/CEP143004