Jaw Jerk | Cranial Nerves - MedSchool
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The jaw jerk is also known as the masseter inhibitory reflex; it involves the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve as both its afferent and efferent arms.
 

Jaw Jerk

 
 
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Overview

  • The jaw jerk is also known as the masseter inhibitory reflex; it involves the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve as both its afferent and efferent arms.
    • How to Elicit

    • Place a finger horizontally over the chin with the mouth open, and then strike this finger with a tendon hammer. 
  • Warn the patient beforehand!
  • While a slight jerk may be normal, an exaggerated jerk is a sign of an upper motor neuron lesion.
    • Interpretation

    • Slight / absent jerkNormal, mandibular nerve (V3) lesion
    • Exaggerated jerk (± clonus)Upper motor neuron lesion

Jaw Jerk Pathway

  • Receptors
    Muscle spindle within mandible
     
     
    Foramen
    Foramen ovale
    V3
    Mandibular branch
     
    Trigeminal Ganglion
     
     
    Mesencephalic nucleus
    Midbrain, pons
     
     
    Trigeminal Motor Nucleus
    Upper pons
     
    V3
    Mandibular branch
    Foramen
    Foramen ovale
     
     
    Muscle
    Masseter
Last updated on February 4th, 2020
 
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