Mastication (Chewing) is the first stage of digestion of food. Muscles of Mastication helps in grinding the food to make them small in size in the oral cavity.

Grinding the food is very important, it makes the food smaller in size. Smaller the size of the particle will increase the surface area. This food can then be swallowed with ease and further chymified with the help of enzymes as it moves along the alimentary canal.

Many different structures like Teeth, Bone (Mandible and maxilla) and muscles like tongue and masticatory muscles work together to enable a person to chew the food.

Embryologically, the muscles of mastication are developed from the first pharyngeal arch

Muscles Of Mastication
Muscles Of Mastication

Primary Muscles Of Mastication

There are many muscles which help in mastication. First, we will discuss primary muscles which are as follow:

  • Masseter
  • Temporalis
  • Medial pterygoid
  • Lateral pterygoid

Accessory Muscles Of Mastication

There are some other muscles that help in mastication. Their names are as follows.

Suprahyoid Muscles

  • Mylohyoid
  • Geniohyoid
  • Stylohyoid
  • Digastric

Infrahyoid muscles

  • Sternohyid
  • Thyrohyoid
  • Omohyoid

Now, in this article, we will know about the Anatomy, attachment innervation and action of these muscles individually.

Masseter Muscle

It is the strongest in all muscles. Masseter muscle is quadrangular in shape, and it can be divided into two parts: Deep and Superficial.

Lateral aspect of Masseter Muscle
Lateral aspect of Masseter Muscle


  • Superficial layer: Tendinous aponeurosis from the zygomatic process of the maxilla and anterior 2/3 of the inferior border of the zygomatic arch.
  • Deep layer: Medial aspect and inferior border of posterior one-third of the zygomatic arch


  • Superficial Part: Lower border of the lateral surface of the mandible.
  • Deep Layer: Upper part of the ramus and coronoid process.

Functions of Masseter Muscle

  • The masseter muscle functions as a powerful elevator of the jaw.
  • Lateral movement of the mandible
  • Retraction of mandible

Nerve Supply

The masseter muscle is innervated by Messetric Nerve derived from the mandibular division of the Trigeminal nerve.

Blood supply

Vascular supply from the masseteric branch of the maxillary artery.

Temporalis Muscle

Temporalis Muscle is the fan-shaped muscles originated from temporal fossa of the skull. It is a large muscle which covers the temporal bone of the skull. The primary function of this muscle is to elevate the mandible.

Lateral aspect of temporalis muscle
Lateral aspect of temporalis muscle

Origin of Temporalis Muscle

The inferior temporal line across the entire temporal fossa, including parts of the parietal and most of the squama of the temporal bones.


As a tendon on Coronoid Process of the mandible.

Blood supply of Temporalis Muscle

Vascular supply of the Temporalis Muscle is via branches of the superficial temporal and maxillary arteries.

Nerve Supply

Anterior and posterior deep Temporal nerve from mandibular division of trigeminal nerve.


  • Elevation of mandible
  • Retraction of the mandible: by Posterior and middle portion of the muscle.

Lateral Pterygoid Muscle

The Lateral Pterygoid Muscle has two heads of origin, smaller Superior head, and larger inferior head.

Lateral Pterygoid Muscle
Lateral Pterygoid Muscle


  • Superior Head: Infratemporal region of the greater wing of the sphenoid bone.
  • Inferior Head:Lateral surface of the lateral pterygoid plate.


At the neck of the mandible and various structures of the TMJ.

Nerve Supply

Branch of the buccal nerve from the mandibular division of the trigeminal

Blood Supply

Pterygoid branch of the maxillary artery.


  • Depresses the mandible so, It is also called a jaw opener muscle.
  • Protrudes forward for opening the jaw.
  • It also helps to side movement of the mandible.

Medial Pterygoid Muscle

The Medial Pterygoid Muscle is the deepest situated muscle of mastication.

Medial pterygoid muscle
Medial pterygoid muscle


Deep head of lateral pterygoid plate and maxillary tuberosity


In the medial angle of the mandible

Nerve Supply

Mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve

Blood Supply

Pterygoid branch of the 2nd part of maxillary artery


  • Elevates the mandible
  • Closes the jaw
  • Side to side movement

Accessory Masticatory Muscles


  • Two bellies unite by tendon
  • Act as a depressor muscle adding to the action of lateral pterygoid muscle


  • It is a flat triangular muscle.
  • A secondary role in mastication as a depressor of the mandible.
  • Mylohyoid muscle elevates the floor of the mouth to help in deglutition.


  • Short and narrow muscle which lies over mylohyoid muscle.
  • It depresses the mandible.

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