Feeding Kinematics

Feeding Kinematics and Dental Occlusion

XROMM animation of pig feeding

(credit: David Baier)

Omnivorous mammals – such as humans and pigs – have a mobile temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and teeth with low, rounded cusps that are used to crush and grind a wide variety of foods.

The Menegaz lab has used XROMM (X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology) to study TMJ motion and tooth interactions during pig feeding. How does the TMJ rotate and slide (ginglymoarthroadial movements) during mastication? How are the upper and lower teeth occluding during the power stroke to reduce food particle size?

We are also interested in how different feeding behaviors (e.g. food ingestion versus mastication) and food types affect jaw motion. Future work will focus on tooth replacement, and how the morphological difference between deciduous and permanent post-canine teeth affects masticatory kinematics and performance.