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Acta Anat (Basel). 1994;149(1):55-62.

Morphology and analysis of the development of the human temporomandibular joint and masticatory muscle.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, School of Dentistry, Nippon Dental University, Tokyo, Japan.


The calcification levels of the mandible and the temporal bone of human fetuses, which ranged from 12 to 32 weeks of gestation, were systematically investigated with a soft X-ray analyzer linked to an image analyzer. The profile of the condylar process (head) revealed high levels of calcification, in contrast to that in the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone. The basal portion of the condylar process and the mandibular notch exhibited moderate calcification from 12 weeks of gestation. The weight and the cross-sectional areas of the muscle and the muscle fibers in masticatory muscles (masseter, temporal, medial, and lateral pterygoid muscles) are all increased gradually during development from 12 to 32 weeks of gestation. These changes in calcification and in cross-sectional area of muscle suggest that muscle development may be related to bone calcification during formation of the mandible.

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