The facial structure is made up of 14 stationary bones and a movable lower jawbone known as the mandible.
These bones are responsible for the overall shape of the face and provide attachments for the muscles that control facial expressions and jaw movement.
In this guide, we will provide an in-depth understanding of the bones that make up the face.
- The facial structure is made up of 14 stationary bones and a movable lower jawbone known as the mandible.
- The maxillary bones form the upper jaw and contain maxillary sinuses.
- The palatine bones are L-shaped and help to shape the sound we produce for speech.
- The zygomatic bones, also known as the cheekbones, are responsible for the prominence of the cheeks.
- The mandible is horseshoe-shaped and responsible for opening and closing the mouth. It has important anatomical landmarks, including the alveolar process, mental protuberance, mental foramen, body, angle, and mandibular foramen.
The maxillary bones
The maxillary bones form the upper jaw, the anterior roof of the mouth, the floors of the orbits, and the sides and floor of the nasal cavity.
These bones contain large cavities called maxillary sinuses.
The small holes on each side of the nasal opening are called the infraorbital foramina. These foramina provide passageways for blood vessels and nerves to the face.
The palatine bones
Located behind the maxillary bones, the palatine bones are L-shaped and form the posterior section of the hard palate and the floor of the nasal cavity.
These bones are essential for speech and help to shape the sound that we produce.
The zygomatic bones
The zygomatic bones, also known as the cheekbones, are responsible for the prominence of the cheeks.
These bones serve as part of the posterior section of the hard palate and the floor of the nasal cavity.
The lacrimal bones
The lacrimal bones are thin, scale-like structures located in the medial wall of each orbit.
They provide a pathway for a tube that carries tears from the eye to the nasal cavity.
The nasal bones
The nasal bones are long, thin, and nearly rectangular in shape.
These bones are responsible for shaping the bridge of the nose. They lie side by side and are fused together to form the bridge of the nose.
Cartilaginous tissues attach to these bones, contributing significantly to the shape of the nose.
The inferior nasal conchae
The inferior nasal conchae are curved, fragile, scroll-shaped bones that lie in the lateral walls of the nasal cavity.
They provide support for mucous membranes within the nasal cavity.
The vomer bone
The vomer bone is connected to the ethmoid bone and together they form the nasal septum, which separates the two nasal cavities.
The mandible is horseshoe-shaped, with an upward sloping portion at each end called the ramus.
The rami are divided into two different processes: the condyloid process and the coronoid process.
The condylar process
The condylar process, also known as the mandibular condyle, is located posterior on the ramus and forms the head of the mandible.
It is knuckle-shaped and articulates in the glenoid fossa of the temporal bone to form the temporomandibular joint.
This joint is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth.
The coronoid process
Located anterior of the condyle, the coronoid process provides attachment for the temporalis muscle, which helps lift the mandible to close the mouth.
Other important anatomical landmarks of the mandible
- Alveolar process: The alveolar process is an important anatomical landmark that supports the teeth of the mandibular arch. It is important to recognize this landmark when performing dental procedures or examining the teeth of a patient.
- Mental protuberance: Also known as the chin, the mental protuberance is located at the midline of the mandible. This landmark is important to identify when evaluating facial features or performing facial surgeries.
- Mental foramen: The mental foramen is located on the facial surfaces of the mandible on both the right and left sides, just below the second premolars. This opening contains the mental nerve and blood vessels. It is important to recognize this landmark when performing dental procedures or evaluating nerve function in the facial region.
- Body: The body is the heavy, horizontal portion of the mandible below the mental foramen extending to the angle. It is important to recognize this landmark when performing dental procedures or evaluating the overall structure of the mandible.
- Angle: The angle is the juncture where the body of the mandible meets with the ramus. It is important to recognize this landmark when performing dental procedures or evaluating the overall structure of the mandible.
- Mandibular foramen: Located near the center of each ramus on the medial side (inside), the mandibular foramen is an important landmark through which blood vessels and the interior alveolus nerve pass to supply the roots of the mandibular teeth. This is a common area where the dental officer will inject anesthetic to block the nerve impulses and make the teeth on that side insensitive (numb). It is important to recognize this landmark when performing dental procedures or administering anesthesia.