Vertical Dimension. Part 2: The Changes in Electrical Activity of the Cervical Muscles Upon Varying the Vertical Dimension

Rodolfo Miralles*, Carolina Dodds, Arturo Manns, Carmen Palazzi, Clara Jaramillo, Verónica Quezada, Gabriel Cavada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study was conducted in order to determine the effect of vertical dimension variation on the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles. The study was performed on 15 healthy subjects. Basal tonic electromyographic (BT-EMG) recordings were performed by placing surface electrodes on the left sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles. BT EMG activity was recorded upon varying the vertical dimension every five millimeters from vertical dimension of occlusion to 45 millimeters of jaw opening (series 1), following the habitual opening path. Afterward, BT-EMG activity was recorded every millimeter from vertical dimension of occlusion to 4 mm, and then every two millimeters from four to ten millimeters (series 2). In series 1, a significant increase of BT-EMG activity was observed in both muscles (simple logarithmic regression analysis). In series 2, a significant increase was observed in the sternocleidomastoid muscle whereas trapezius muscle did not present a significant change. BT-EMG behavior of the sternocleidomastoid muscle in series 2 could be relevant when dentists increase vertical dimension by means of intermaxillary appliances during a short-term period. Moreover, these results add further information to the concept of the interrelatedness between the different components of the cranio cervical-mandibular system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalCranio - Journal of Craniomandibular Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


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