Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 17 December 2020


This is a short tutorial on the mandible. The mandible consists of a few parts. You’ve got the anterior part, which is the body of the mandible, you’ve got the angle of the mandible and you’ve got the posterior vertical part, which is the ramus of the mandible.

The body can be separated into two halves. You’ve got the upper part, which is the alveolar part. This is where the teeth insert into the lower jaw. And then you’ve got the lower part, which is the base of the mandible.


On the base of the mandible, you’ve got these protuberances, these little bumps. If I just rotate it around laterally, you can see this slight bump here and this is what’s known as the mental protuberance and it lies in the midline where the two parts of the body of the mandible meet. This is the mental protuberance.


And then on other side of the mental protuberance, you’ve got these two little bumps, which you can just about make out. It’s probably best to see from the front. You’ve got these two bumps that lie just lateral to the central mental protuberance. These are mental tubercles. Those are found on the base of the body of the mandible and the alveolar part contains the teeth.   That’s the body of the mandible.


And then angle that you get here is the angle of the mandible and then the posterior part of the mandible meets the body at this angle. This is the ramus of the mandible.


If we just click here and just visualize the mandible a bit better and zoom in a slight bit, you’ve got these two processes anteriorly and posteriorly.   The anterior process is known as the coronoid process and the posterior process is the condylar process. This process articulates with the temporal bone. You can see here its articulation with the temporal bone.


The coronoid, the anterior coronoid process is important because it’s the site where the temporalis muscle inserts.   If we just have a look at that, let’s bring in the muscle, this large muscle here is the temporalis. I will be doing a tutorial on facial muscles, but just to point out that this muscle inserts onto the coronoid process of the mandible. This is a muscle that’s involved in mastication.


The mandible is your lower jaw bone. Together with the cranium, it makes up the skull.   The cranium has the upper part and the lower part. The mandible isn’t a part of the cranium, but together with the cranium, it makes up the skull.


This little hole here, which you can see is a foramen. You’ve got one on either side. It’s called the mental foramen. You’ve got a few of these little holes in the skulls. This is where different structures pass through, different nerves and different vessels. We’ll just have a look at that, but I will be doing a tutorial on the foramen.   That’s the mandible.