• Mandibular Anatomy

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    • The mandible, or lower jaw, is the bone that hinges to the skull and, together with the maxilla, forms the mouth.
    • The mandibular nerve, the third and largest branch of the trigeminal nerve, runs along the mandible.
    • The mandibular nerve has both sensory and motor functions. It divides into trunks and smaller branches to innervate the teeth and gums of the mandible, the lower lip and lower part of the face, and the muscles of mastication.
  • Normal Dentition

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    • There are normally 32 teeth, divided into 4 categories: molars, premolars, canines, and incisors.
    • The teeth are embedded in the bones of the maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) and are held in position by periodontal ligaments.
    • The third molars (teeth #1, 16, 17, 32) are often vestigial and/or impacted. These are commonly known as “wisdom teeth”.
    • The roots of the teeth are anchored within the bone and contain an artery, vein, and nerve which travel to the main portion of the tooth and divide within the pulp.
    • Dentin covers the pulp and very hard enamel covers the dentin; the bone is covered with a mucosal tissue, the gingiva.

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