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TMJ and Associated Anatomy

The temporomandibular joint is a ginglymo-arthrodial joint (subserves both a hingelike and gliding articular movements). It is formed by the mandibular condyle and its articulation with the glenoid fossa of the temporal bone. The joint is divided into upper and lower compartments by the articular disk (aka meniscus).

The ligaments of the joint are the following:

  • The articular capsule is a thin loose envelope, attached above to the circumference of the mandibular fossa and the articular tubercle, and below to the neck of the condyle of the mandible.
  • The dense TMJ ligament lies immediately lateral to the capsule and protects the joint contents by limiting movement beyond physiological limits.
  • The sphenomandibular and stylomandibular ligaments likewise offer supportive and limiting functions medially.

The synovial membrane lines the non-articular recesses of the upper and lower joint compartments. This membrane subserves nutritive and lubricating functions. The surrounding muscles of mastication elevate (masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid), depress (anterior digastric, mylohyoid, genio hyoid, platysma), protrude (lateral pteryoid, anterior digastric), and retrude the mandible (superficial masseter, anterior temporalis).


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