Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Oral Biol. 1995 Dec;40(12):1099-108.

Biomechanical implications of lateral pterygoid contribution to biting and jaw opening in humans.

Author information

Department of Oral Biology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


The contributions of the lateral pterygoid muscle to a variety of different tasks were analysed by a linear programming mode based on the equations for static equilibrium in three dimensions and containing 12 muscles. The model was used to study lateral pterygoid activity at maximum bite force (MBF) for changes in (i) the direction and point of application of the bite force, (ii) the orientation of the masseter and medial pterygoid muscles and (iii) the slope of the articular eminence (glenoid slope). The effects on MBF of removing one or both lateral pterygoids were also examined. Lateral pterygoid provided a very important indirect contribution to some clenching forces. Under some conditions removing one lateral pterygoid muscle (simulating guarding an injured muscle) halved the MBF. Its activity at MBF was reduced as masseter was tilted more forward, the glenoid slope was made more horizontal and the bite force was made more vertical. The muscle helped to oppose (balance) the horizontal reaction forces at the bite point and joints, which potentially pushed the condyle backward. A balancing muscle is now defined as one (like lateral pterygoid) whose activity increases the output force by far more than its direct contribution to that force. In a larger model containing 16 muscles, every muscle was most active when its line of action was parallel to the output force. Finally, in a model which divided lateral pterygoid into superior and inferior heads, activity suddenly switched from the superior head to the inferior head when the angle of opening changed from 120 degrees (forward from the vertical) to 140 degrees.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center