Mandibular bone strain in the region immediately below the temporomandibular ligament was analyzed in adult and sub-adult Macaca fascicularis and Macaca mulatta. Following recovery from the general anesthetic, the monkeys were presented food objects, a wooden rod, or a specially designed bite-force transducer. Bone strain was recorded during incisal biting and mastication of food, and also during isometric biting of the rod and/or the transducer. The bone strain data suggest the following: The macaque TMJ is loaded by a compressive reaction force during the power stroke of mastication and incision of food, and during isometric molar and incisor biting. TMJ reaction forces are larger on the contralateral side during both mastication and isometric molar biting. Patterns of ipsilateral TMJ reaction force in macaques during isometric biting vary markedly in response to the position of the bite point. During biting along the premolars or first two molars a compressive reaction force acts about the ipsilateral TMJ; however, when the bite point is positioned along the M3, the ipsilateral TMJ has either very little compressive stress, no stress, or it is loaded in tension.
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