The muscles that control facial expression, also called mimetic muscles. These muscles are controlled by the facial nerve, which has 5 main divisions described below.
Five main divisions of the facial nerve and the muscles they control:
- The frontalis muscle of the forehead lifts the eyebrows.
- The anterior and superior auricular muscles which move the ear forward and superiorly.
- The Corrugator muscle on the brow, draws the eyebrow downward and medially, producing the vertical wrinkle on the forehead at the bridge of the nose.
- The procerus pulls the skin between the eyebrows downward, assists in flaring the nostrils and helps create an angry expression.
- The temporal branches assist the zygomatic branches of the facial nerve with the obicularis oculi, which closes the eyelids and contracts the skin around the eyes.
- The zygomaticus major elevates the corners of the mouth for smiling.
- The zyomaticus minor, levator labii elevate the upper lip.
- The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi dilates the nostril and elevates the upper lip, enabling one to snarl.
- The risorius and levator angulii oris are muscles that assist in smiling.
- The orbicularis encircles the mouth, closes and puckers the lips and is sometimes called the kissing muscle.
- The nasalis compresses the bridge of the nose and the nostrils.
- The buccal branches also assist the mandibular branches in pulling the mouth downwards for a frown, by the depressor anguli oris, and pulling the lower lip down with the depressor labii inferioris.
- The mentalis pulls the skin on the chin upwards.
- This division supplies the platysma muscle of the neck, also a “frowning” muscle.