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Function: Using the Jaws

The actions of biting and chewing require the lower jaw to move in all directions. This range of movement is made possible by the temporomandibular joint, a complex but exceptionally flexible type of hinge joint that attaches the lower jaw to the skull.

Moving the lower jaw

The lower jaw moves in six directions, side to side, up and down, and backwards and forwards. This mobility is essential for biting off and chewing food.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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