It is very essential for all dental professional to know the anatomy of the head and neck that such as (dentist, dental nurse, dental therapy, and technology) to have a better knowledge of anatomy and physiology.
This article makes us understand how the anatomy of the head and neck are related to the treatment of patients in dental and oral surgery department in dentistry.

First of all, we must know the,

(Anatomy of the head and neck): Basic knowledge of the skull

  The skull is the bony skeleton of the head and jaws (the dentist deals with the head and neck).
The skull consists of two parts which are, like a box just like a cranium containing and protecting the brain, and facial skeleton. We can also see An added protection of the brain by its surrounding cerebral fluid. The skull rests upon the upper end of the vertebral column.
  To obtain a clear picture of the position of the bones, as a student then, we are advised to look at a skull for study purposes and to learn more about the basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology. We also have a skull at the dental clinic for study purposes and references (the dentist also make use of them too).
  We are also thought that

The skull consists of 8 cranium bones and the face consists of 14 bones which are:

Cranium bones
  • 1 frontal bone forms the forehead.
  • 2 parietal bones from the side of the skull.
  • 2 temporal bones contain the ears
  • 1 occipital bone form base of the skull.
  • 1 sphenoid bone from the floor of the cranium.
  • 1 ethmoid bone also forms the floor of the cranium.

The face consists of 14 bones

  • 2 lacrymal bones these form the nose.
  • 2 nasal bones these form the nose.
  • 2 turbinate bones these form the bone.
  • 1 vomer bone these also form the bone.
  • 1 mandible.
  • 2 maxillary bones.
  • 2 Palatine bones.
  • 2 zygomatic bones.

We also confirm that the four maxillary and zygomatic bones form the upper jaw, in close association with the palatine bones.

(Anatomy of the head and neck): The Dentist is most concerned on the Maxillary bones

This is the main bones of the facial skeleton (which the dentist should be concerned about or study about) you can't do without the maxillary bones when you are in oral surgery.
The bones have one for each side. They meet in the midline of the face, below the nose, and together form the upper jaw. Each maxilla consists of a body and four processes; alveolar, Palatine, frontal, and zygomatic.
The body has four surfaces and a large central cavity:
  1. The Anterior

It forms part of the lower margin of the orbit, beneath which is the infra-orbital foramen. This is also the exit for the infra-orbital nerves and vessels.

  • Medially it forms the side of the front opening of the nose.
  • Below, it continues with the alveolar process.
  • Literally continues in the zygomatic process.

Some muscles of facial expression are attached to this is separated from the posterior surface by the zygomatic process.

  2. The posterior surface: 
Forms the anterior wall of the infratemporal fossa, where branches of the maxillary nerve and vessels enter the maxilla via dental canals.
 3. The superior surface:
forms the part of the floor of the orbit
 4. The medial surface: 
forms the wall of the nose.
  The dentist and dental nurse must know the anatomy of the head and neck including the bones in contact with the maxilla and muscles attached to the maxillary bone which is the main course of our discipline. Which are:

Bones in contact with the maxilla

  • Maxilla of the opposite side.
  • Ethmoid.
  • Frontal.
  • Inferior concha and vomer.
  • Lacrimal.
  • Mandible.
  • Nasal.
  • Palatine.

Muscles attached to the maxillary bone

  • Buccinator.
  • Compressor nares.
  • Dilator nares.
  • Inferior oblique of the eye and inferior rectus.
  • Levator anguli Oris.
  • Levator labii superioris.
  • Levator labii superioris alequae nasi.
  • Masseter.
  • Medial pterygoid.
  • Orbicularis oculi.
  • Orbicularis Oris.
  • Zygomaticus.

The mandible is another aspect of dentistry that must be concerned about.

(Anatomy of the head and neck): The Mandible

The mandible bone united in the midline. Each consists of a horizontal horseshoe-shaped body and a laterally placed vertical ramus.
  On top, the teeth lie in sockets within the alveolar process. This is located below the roots of the premolar teeth and the mental foramen transmits the mental nerve and vessels through the outer surface.
Passing back and slightly upwards from this foramen is where the external oblique line, which becomes continuous with the anterior border of the ramus. Above the line lie the tooth roots. Below is the inferior dental canal.
   These are while is extremely important for the dentist to study the general anatomy and physiology aspect of the mandible and the maxilla and know the types of injections given:
  • Regional blocks: inferior dental, mental, infra-orbital, posterior superior dental, greater palatine, sphenopalatine.
  • Infiltration.
  • Papillary.
  • Intra-osseous.

What are the muscles that are attached to the mandible?

  • Anterior belly of the digastric.
  • Buccinator.
  • Depressor labii inferioris.
  • Depressor anguli Oris.
  • Genioglossus.
  • Geniohyoid.
  • Lateral pterygoid.
  • Masseter.
  • Medial pterygoid.
  • Mentalis.
  • Mylohyoid.
  • Orbicularis Oris.
  • Platysma.
  • Superior constrictor of the pharynx.
  • Temporalis.
The mandible (which is the lower jaw) is the only mobile bone in the skull

One of the Main Function of the mandible(lower jaw)
  • It articulates with the temporal bone on each side of the cranium by means of a temporomandibular joint, to allow the movements of mastication (chewing). All other bones are joined together by normal sutures, which build the skull.

What is the movement of the mandible?

  1. Opening
  2. Closure
  3. Protrusion
  4. Retrusion
  5. Sideways movements
  6. Chewing:anterior,posterior,and lateral movement.

This is the aspect  the dentist must know to better understand the general knowledge of anatomy of the head and neck to better understand dentistry. If there is any aspect have omitted or remove that you want to add further knowledge or share your ideas let us know by commenting.


  • Anatomy and physiology by Ross and Willson


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Am Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues. We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news. My goal is to enlighten everyone in all aspects of health towards participating in fitness, Dental care, healthy recipes, child health, obstetrics, and more.

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