We present a mathematical model to determine the contribution of each muscle acting on the mandible in the development of a given bite force. We give special attention to the representation of the widely radiated temporalis and account for the attachment of the external pterygoid to the capsular ligament. An optimization technique based on minimizing the maximum stress occurring in the muscles is used to resolve the statically indeterminant nature of the problem formulated. The theoretically predicted values of the muscle forces are compared to experimental results taken from the literature.

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