The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is formed by the condylar process of the mandible and the mandibular fossa of the temporal
bone (Photo 23). Abnormalities in this area can result in pain, crepitance and the inability to close or open the mouth. Traumatic
dislocations are common, especially in the cat. Radiographic positioning is tedious for this region, and CT imaging is becoming
the technique of choice for more involved cases (Photo 24).
The muscles of mastication include the muscles that open and close the mouth. Those that close the mouth are the strongest
and most numerous for obvious reasons and include the temporalis, masseter and lateral and medial pterygoid. The digasticus
muscle is the muscle that acts to open the mouth. A commonly recognized problem associated with the muscles of mastication
is masticatory muscle myositis that results in acute pain and eventual inability to open the mouth due to chronic inflammation
Recognition of the major anatomical structures within the oral cavity gives the veterinarian and technician a comfortable
base for making medical and surgical decisions that benefit the patient. The veterinary dental knowledge base has expanded
dramatically in the recent past. This review has provided updates with current and accepted nomenclature and has provided
some clinical syndromes commonly associated with that anatomy.
Dr. Beckman, diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College, owns and operates South Florida Veterinary Dental Service
in Punta Gorda, Fla.