Mathematical model of the human jaw system simulating static biting and movements after unloading

Geranda Slager, E. Otten, T.M.G.J. van Eijden, J.D. van Willigen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When the resistance to a forceful isometric bite is suddenly removed in unloading experiments, the bite force drops to zero and the mandible reaches a constant velocity. This occurs at an initial bite force of 100 N after ~12 ms when the incisors have moved 4.5 mm. Reflex activity is far too slow to limit the velocity at impact. To explore the influence of other factors (cocontraction, force-length properties, and force-velocity properties of the muscles) on the velocity at impact, a numerical forward dynamic model of the jaw system is formulated. Unloading experiments in different experimental conditions were simulated with the model. Most parameter values of the model are based on physiological data, both from literature and a data basis from a human cadaver study. Other parameter values were found by optimally fitting the model results to data from the unloading experiments. The model analysis shows that the limitation of the jaw velocity mainly may be due to the force- velocity properties of the jaw-closing muscles. Force-length properties of the jaw muscles hardly contribute to the impact velocity. The compliance of tendinous sheets in the jaw muscles is unfavorable for the reduction in impact velocity, whereas cocontraction of jaw-opening and -closing muscles helps to limit impact velocity. The force-velocity properties of the muscles provide a quick mechanism for dealing with unexpected closing movements and so avoid damage to the dental elements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0022-3077/97
Pages (from-to)3222-3233
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • dentistry
  • human jaw system
  • mathematical models
  • biting
  • impact velocity


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