The human masticatory system consists of a mandible which is able to move with respect to the skull at its bilateral temporomandibular joint (TMJ) through contractions of the masticatory muscles. Like other synovial joints, the TMJ is loaded mechanically during function. The articular surface of the mandibular condyle is covered with cartilage that is composed mainly of collagen fibers and proteoglycans. This construction results in a viscoelastic response to loading and enables the cartilage to play an important role as a stress absorber during function. To understand its mechanical functions properly, and to assess its limitations, detailed information about the viscoelastic behavior of the mandibular condylar cartilage is required. The purpose of this paper is to review the fundamental concepts of the biomechanical behavior of the mandibular condylar cartilage. This review consists of four parts. Part 1 is a brief introduction of the structure and function of the mandibular condylar cartilage. In Part 2, the biochemical composition of the mandibular condylar cartilage is summarized. Part 3 explores the biomechanical properties of the mandibular condylar cartilage. Finally, Part 4 relates this behavior to the breakdown mechanism of the mandibular condylar cartilage which is associated with the progression of osteoarthritis in the TMJ.
|Journal||Osteoarthritis and Cartilage|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|