The jaw is the bony structure which exists in the entrance of the mouth. This structure consists of segments which are held together by joints. The jaw is primarily used for manipulating food and grasping functions. The jaw comprises of the lower jaw bone, which is called the mandible, and the upper jaw bone which is called the maxilla.
The mandible is the lower jaw which consists of the lower teeth arch. The mandible of a person comprises of the following:
- The mandible body – this is a curved and horizontal structure
- The rami: these are two vertical structures that are connected with the end of the mandible body
- The alveolar process: the ridge of bones which have the tooth sockets for the teeth Condyle: along with the temporal bone, the condyle forms the temporomandibular joint
- Coronoid process: the temporalis muscle is connected by this process
The mandible is connected with the temporomandibular joint and with the two temporal bones. The mandible is most commonly vulnerable to fractures, as most of the facial injuries suffered by people mean mandible fracture.
The maxilla is the upper jaw where the teeth of the upper arch are fixed with the alveolar process. The maxilla is also connected with the cheek bones, known as the zygomatic bones. The maxilla supports in forming the palate, the floor of the nasal antrum and the wall of the orbit.
The maxilla consists of four processes:
- The zygomatic process
- The frontal process of the maxilla
- The alveolar process
- The palatine process