Three-dimensional finite element models of a partially edentulated human mandible were generated to calculate the mechanical response to simulated isometric biting and mastication loads. The level of mesh refinement was established via a convergence test and showed that a model with over 30,000 degrees of freedom was required to obtain analysis accuracy. The functional loading cases included muscle loading based on an algorithm that assigns muscle forces in accordance with muscle cross-sectional area, while maintaining static equilibrium. Results were found for isometric application of unilateral and bilateral bite and mastication loading, and two different sets of displacement boundary conditions were imposed at the condyles. The mechanical response is shown in terms of displacements, principal strains, and a new measure called the 'mechanical intensity scalar'. For each load case studied, there was substantial bending in the molar region of the corpus and high tensile strains in the anterior portion of the ramus.