Temporomandibular joint

Temporomandibular joint: Anatomy & FunctionAnatomy, functions, innervation and blood supply of the temporomandibular joint
~ 3 min

Let’s learn about the structure of the temporomandibular joint (articulatio temporomandibularis).

The bones forming the joint are the temporal bone (os temporale) and the mandible (mandibula).

Temporomandibular joint (articulatio temporomandibularis)
Temporomandibular joint (articulatio temporomandibularis)

The articular surfaces involved in the formation of the joint are the mandibular fossa and the articular tubercle of the temporal bone (fossa mandibularis et tuberculum articulare ossis temporalis),

Mandibular fossa (fossa mandibularis)
Mandibular fossa (fossa mandibularis)

as well as the head of the mandible (caput mandibulae).

Head of the mandible (caput mandibulae)
Head of the mandible (caput mandibulae)

The articular capsule is attached to the temporal bone along the articular tubercle in front, and along the petrotympanic fissure behind. On the mandible, the capsule is attached along the neck (0.5 cm higher in front than behind); at the same time, it is thin in the anterior part, and dense, fibrous in the posterior part, so dislocations of the mandible are possible only in the forward direction.

Articular capsule (capsula articularis)
Articular capsule (capsula articularis)
Articular tubercle (cavitas articularis)
Articular tubercle (cavitas articularis)

According to the classification, the joint is simple, combined and condylar.

The following range of motions is possible in the joint:

  • Around the frontal axis, it lifts and lowers of the mandible

  • Around the vertical axis, it performs rotation (rotatio) of the mandible to the right and left

  • Around the sagittal spine, it shifts the mandible back and forth

    When rotating, the mandible shifts: on its side, rotation is carried out in the fossa, on the opposite side, the mandible shifts to the tubercle.

    Several ligaments belong to the fixing apparatus of the joint.

  • Lateral ligament (ligamentum laterale)

    Lateral ligament (ligamentum laterale)
    Lateral ligament (ligamentum laterale)
  • Stylomandibular ligament (ligamentum stylomandibulare)

    Stylomandibular ligament (ligamentum stylomandibulare)
    Stylomandibular ligament (ligamentum stylomandibulare)
  • Sphenomandibular ligament (ligamentum sphenomandibulare)

    Sphenomandibular ligament (lig. sphenomandibulare)
    Sphenomandibular ligament (lig. sphenomandibulare)

    The additional structures of the joint include the articular disc (discus articularis).

    Articular disc (discus articularis)
    Articular disc (discus articularis)

    How the muscles affect the joint:

  • Lowering: m. digastricus (venter anterior), m. geniohyoideus, m. mylohyoideus.

  • Lifting: m. masseter, m. pterygoideus medialis.

    Medial pterygoid muscle (musculus pterygoideus medialis)
    Medial pterygoid muscle (musculus pterygoideus medialis)
  • Anterior motion: m. pterygoideus lateralis

  • Posterior motion: posterior bundles of m. temporalis

  • Side motion: m. pterygoideus lateralis (in the opposite direction)

    Lateral pterygoid muscle (musculus pterygoideus lateralis)
    Lateral pterygoid muscle (musculus pterygoideus lateralis)

    The following vessels and nerves take part in the blood supply and innervation of the joint.

  • Arteries: a. auricularis profunda of a. maxillaris

  • Veins: rete articulare mandibulare further into plexus venosus pterygoideus, then into v. jugularis interna

  • Nerves: n. auriculotemporalis

Dictionary

Temporomandibular joint

Temporomandibular joint
articulatio temporomandibularis
Temporal bone
os temporale
Mandible
mandibula
Mandibular fossa
fossa mandibularis
Articular tubercle
tuberculum articulare
Head of the mandible
caput mandibulae
Lateral ligament
ligamentum laterale
Stylomandibular ligament
ligamentum stylomandibulare
Sphenomandibular ligament
ligamentum sphenomandibulare
Articular disc
discus articularis
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