This study unit will allow you to:
- Describe the articular surfaces of the temporomandibular joint.
- Identify other main components and supporting structures.
- List the movements performed at this joint.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the skull to the mandible or lower jaw. It is located between the mandibular fossa and articular tubercle of the temporal bone and the condylar process of the mandible. It is classified as a synovial-type joint, however, is atypical in that its articular surfaces are lined by fibrocartilage rather than hyaline cartilage. The TMJs facilitate a range of movements of the lower jaw namely depression/elevation, lateral deviation (left or right), and protraction/retraction.
If you want to dig deeper into the anatomy of the TMJ, check out our atlas below!
Review everything you learned today in the image gallery below!
Take a quiz
Test your knowledge of the temporomandibular joint by taking our quiz below!
If you want to expand your knowledge even further, try our custom quiz creator. In the link below you’ll find the preset for a quiz about all the structures of the head.
Temporal bone: Mandibular fossa and articular tubercle
Mandible: Condylar process
Articular disc (anterior/posterior bands, intermediate zone)
|Cavities||Superior (discotemporal) cavity (translational movement)
Inferior (discomandibular) cavity (rotational movement)
Major: Lateral temporomandibular ligament (thickened lateral portion of capsule, strengthens TMJ laterally)
Minor: Stylomandibular ligament, sphenomandibular ligament
Elevation: Temporalis, masseter and medial pterygoid muscles
Depression: Lateral pterygoid, digastric, geniohyoid and mylohyoid muscles
Protrusion: Lateral pterygoid and medial pterygoid muscles
Retraction: Posterior fibers of temporalis, deep part of masseter, geniohyoid and digastric muscles
Lateral deviation (left or right): Posterior fibers of temporalis, digastric, mylohyoid and geniohyoid muscles (ipsilateral movement); lateral and medial pterygoid muscles (contralateral movement)