THE SKULL
LOWER JAW (MANDIBLE)

The lower jaw has its own separate bone which is called 'the mandible', which is U-shaped and stretches from one ear, down to the chin area and then back up again to the other ear. It is joined to the upper part of the head around the ear region by two jaw joints (called 'tempero mandibular joints'). If your rest your fingers on the skin just in front of your ears, and then open and close your mouth, you can feel the jaw joints moving. The mandible has names for its different parts, as follows:

  • The body of the mandible is the middle section of the U-shape which supports the lower teeth.
  • The condyle is the rounded end of bone that fits into the movable joint between the mandible and the cranium (the part of the skull which encloses the brain). There is one on each side of the mandible.
  • The coronoid process is the name for a triangular projection from the mandible which joins one of the chewing muscles to the cranium. There is one on each side of the mandible.
  • The ascending ramus is the flatter, straighter part on the sides of the lower jaw which joins the body of the mandible to the coronoid processes and the condyles.
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