Jaws - Jaw Structure, Functions, Maxilla, Mandible
Know your Body

Adds Beauty and Youthfulness to Facial Contours : Jaws

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 15 Feb 2014 - 15:26.


A good jaw line and healthy teeth enhance youthfulness and longevity to facial contours, while it’s functioning is beyond the beauty. Let’s find out how the jaws and teeth are structured and how they function.

The jaws are a bony structure, strong enough to withstand blows, unless from a boxer or an accident. It is well protected from routine external pressures.

We have two jaws - the upper and the lower jaw. In exceptional and rare cases one of the jaws may be missing due to congenital abnormality. Those born with congenital deformity, the upper jaw may not have the roof called cleft palate.
Jaw structure: Of the two jaws the upper one is fixed and the lower one is mobile at a joint called tempero-mandibular joint one on each side, in front of the ear. If you put a finger in front of the small projection of the ear called the tragus and open and close your mouth, you can feel the joint moving behind your fingertip. In some persons one or both these joints may get inflamed when the person cannot open or close the mouth. Tetanus is a serious infectious disease, where the joints stiffen severely and lead to a condition called LPCK Jaw which restricts the jaw movement completely.
The fixed upper jaw is called Maxilla, which looks like a horseshoe with sockets to hold the teeth. It has two large spaces one on each side of the nose over the prominence of the cheeks. These spaces are called maxillary sinuses having air cells and are connected with the inside of the nose. When the air cells get infected, one is prone to a disease called Maxillary Sinusitis, unilateral or bilateral. If left untreated or unattended to, it will lead to bronchitis. Before bronchitis develops doctors advise puncture of the antrum in the nose, approach the sinuses with the needle, wash out the pus and follow it up with antibiotics. The procedure is called antrum wash and puncture is very common.
The commonest problem that can affect the maxilla is maxillary sinusitis and fracture maxilla. The latter condition happens due to accidents and needs wiring of the fractured ends through surgical operation. The maxilla is also prone to malignancy.
Maxilla structure : The sockets in the maxilla hold 16 teeth, eight on each side, which are symmetrical in size and shape. The roof of the mouth, which joins both sides of the maxilla at the top, is called the palate. Part of it is soft and called soft palate. Part of it is hard and called the hard palate. The main function of the maxilla is to assist in chewing food with the help of the teeth fixed to the sockets.
The maxilla is static and it is only the lower jawbone, which is mobile and helps crush the food we eat into smaller particles. The tongue helps in pushing the food material towards the two sets of teeth for chewing and crushing.
The anatomical position of the jaws is so well tailored that the inner surface of the upper teeth come in front if the front portion of the lower teeth when the mouth is fully closed whereas the lower surfaces of the upper molars and premolars and upper surface of the lower molars and premolars are aligned on top of each other for grinding of food.
The Lower Jaw or the Mandible: This bone consists of a horizontal part called the body, which holds the lower set of teeth and two vertical parts that join the body almost at right angles. The body of the mandible looks like a horseshow. The vertical portions form the tempero-mandibular joints one on each side with the help of the maxilla.
The floor of the mouth is a soft structure under the tongue. The floor accommodates the tongue in the mouth and occupies the whole space inside of the mandible. The mandible moves at the tempero-mandibular joints and assists in chewing of food with the help of the teeth in both the jaws.The mandible holds 16 teeth, 8 on each side, symmetrical in size, shape and number.
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.