Sensitivity of temporomandibular joint force calculations to errors in muscle force measurements

Gaylord S. Throckmorton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A two-dimensional, five-muscle model was used to determine the degree of precision required for accurate calculation of temporomandibular joint force magnitude and direction. The sensitivity of the calculations to each variable were assessed by incrementing each variable through its presumed biological range and were expressed as rate of change in the joint force per unit change in each variable. Sensitivity of the calculations to variables depends upon both bite force direction and bite position. The bite force direction with maximum precision for joint force magnitude produced minimal precision for joint force direction. The accuracy needed for each muscle force varied greatly. The effect of error for each muscle parameter depended upon the magnitude, direction, and moment arm length of the muscle force relative to those of the resultant muscle force. If each of the five muscle forces was known to the nearest 1% of total muscle force magnitude, 1° of muscle force direction, and 1 mm of moment arm length, temporomandibular joint force magnitude could be calculated to the nearest 4 kg and joint force direction to the nearest 7°. It is not known whether this precision for the muscle forces is possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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