From the moment you gain up this morning to the time you go to sleep, your jaw muscles will activate around 1500 times to chew and process food. This muscles are appropriate to numerous of our daily activities, from eat to creating words and also even exercising. But, have you ever given assumed to what muscles manage your jaw or just how they perform it? In this article, us will provide a quick overview that mastication- the process of opening and closing ours jaws for eating!




You are watching: Which type of muscle helps you move your jaw to chew food?

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The motion of the condyle andthe TMJ. Notice how it moves both forward and also rotated downward once transitioning indigenous (b) to (a).


When we open our mouths, a complicated set the motions happen at the temporomandibular joint. Essentially, the condyle that the mandible (jaw bone) fits into a devoted groove in the skull. As soon as muscles room activated to open the jaw, the condyle moves forward and out of this groove if rotating open. This movement allows a greater variety of motion for chewing and also swallowing. Unfortunately, this detailed machinery can come to be damaged or displaced. Part patients with backgrounds of grind or clenching their teeth will develop Temporomandibular share Disorder (TMJD).

Although there are a variety of muscles that assist and help in the opening and also closure of the jaw, over there are four main muscles whose sole function is mastication. The masseter, temporalis and also medial and also lateral pterygoid muscles space all uniquely specialized to making eating possible. Interestingly enough, all of these muscles are regulated by the exact same nerve- the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve. Together, they enable us to open our jaw, relocate it left and also right and also close it with incredible force.


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The muscles of mastication labeled. In the 2nd image, the an initial masseter, temporalis and component of the jawbone have been removed.


The masseter muscle runs from the side of the skull down to the bottom the the jawbone. If you place your hand under your temple and before her ear, you have the right to feel that tense together you bite down. It’s key purpose is to aid close the jaw. If you follow the masseter approximately the underside of your jaw, it makes a sling with the medial pterygoid muscle. This muscle additionally helps near the jaw, in addition to moving that from side to side. The lateral pterygoid sits just external of the medial pterygoid and also opens the jaw when assisting in side to side motion as well. Finally, the temporalis muscle sits along the side of the skull and is composed of 2 different types of muscle fibers. The vertical fibers (running peak to bottom) help close the jaw, when the horizontal fibers (running indigenous front to back) room responsible because that retracting the jaw.

Each of these activities is critical to exactly how we use our jaws in daily life. An especially in chewing, these complex movements allow us come properly procedure our food prior to it will our digestive tracts. If girlfriend were keeping tally, we have three muscles devoted to closing the jaw, and also only one that attributes in maintaining it open (lateral pterygoid). This gives us some understanding into how very important proper chewing function is come our overall health. If friend would choose to know an ext about the muscle of mastication, face anatomy or any dental topics, please call our office. We desire our patient to it is in both excited and well notified on subject in dental health!


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