Predator to Suffer a Lot of Jaw Pain in Mortal Kombat

Jul 15, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

Since his introduction in the 1987 film bearing his name, the Predator has been one of the most popular characters in science fiction, appearing in five films and numerous novels, comics, and video games. His most recent appearance is as an eagerly awaited addition to the Mortal Kombat X game. People who already purchased the Mortal Kombat DLC (downloadable content) expansion had access to Predator last week, but for everyone else the Predator became available this week (July 14).

But as a practice offering TMJ treatment, we can’t help but wonder whether the Predator is in for a lot of injury to his already remarkable temporomandibular joint.

Making an Already Complex Joint Even More Involved

Predator TMJThe Predator’s most distinctive feature is the complex configuration of the jaw. The human jaw joint is already the most complex in the body, designed to move forward, back, up and down, sideways, and tilt up and down and side to side as well. The Predator’s jaw seems to have all this range of motion, but, in addition, the jaw has four “fingers” that can move independently, though they are bound by membranes that define a sort of vestibule outside the mouth proper.

There are two proposed configurations for these extra fingers. First, the fingers might be attached to the jawbones. The lower fingers are connected to the mandible, just in front of the temporomandibular joints. The upper fingers, which are both more delicate and more flexible,  might be attached to the upper jaws. In this configuration, the temporomandibular joint is definitely in for some additional work, because anything that the fingers do puts force onto the temporomandibular joint, increasing the risk of disc displacement and muscle strain.

In some models, the lower fingers are attached directly to the skull, behind the temporal bone. This model would not suffer as much risk of TMJ, since there would be an additional load bearing point to support some of the force.

Predator in Mortal Kombat

As the Predator enters Mortal Kombat, we see a lot of classic Predator moves and combos. He uses all the weapons and techniques we see in the canonical Predator movies, including the expandable claws, the cutting disk, the shoulder cannon, and the expanding spear. The Predator fatality scenes are also classic, showing him blowing his opponents apart with his shoulder cannon and cutting them up with his disk.

But with all the punching and kicking the Predator is likely to suffer, we can’t help but think he’s in for a lot of jaw pain. In the original movie, he shows a little twitch of pain after being struck by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the face, and he’s likely to experience a lot more than that if he gets hit by a few combos. Of course, the Predator will be dishing out some temporomandibular joint damage of his own, with a move that applies his claw to the jaw of an opponent.

There is some consolation, though, as he’s not the only Mortal Kombat character at risk of TMJ. The character Mileena sports a lot larger teeth in her huge mouth, and it also seems like she’s got a pretty bad case of malocclusion. Those fangs don’t fit together very well, resulting in significant strain on her temporomandibular joint. And considering that she uses her jaws as weapons, she can expect a lot more strain as well.

Physical Assault Leads to TMJ

Unfortunately, in real life, physical assault is one of the more common causes of orofacial injury, including jaw injury that can lead to TMJ. If you’ve been involved in a fight and continue to suffer persistent jaw pain, popping or clicking of the jaw joint, tooth pain, headaches, and other symptoms of TMJ, we can help.

Please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with a Grapevine TMJ dentist today at Grapevine Dental Care.