Muscles of Mastication

Lateral view of the skull highlighting the mastication muscles

The muscles of mastication, or simply the masticatory muscles, are a group of 4 muscles that move the jaw in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). With movements like protrusion, retraction, elevation, depression and rotation of the mandible, the muscles of mastication enable functions such as chewing and grinding our teeth.

These 4 muscles are the 

As its name implies, the temporalis muscle is located in the temporal fossa. The masseter muscle is found in the cheek area, while the medial and lateral pterygoids lie in the infratemporal fossa.

All muscles of mastication are attached to the mandible and share the same innervation by the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V3). 

Learn the anatomy and functions of the muscles of mastication with interactive diagrams below or upgrade your knowledge with video tutorials and advanced quizzes.