B.D.S, Human Anatomy, Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery

What are the muscles responsible for Facial Expressions

Facial Expressions is an important part in every person’s life from the start of the day till you sleep showing what you feel etc and it also helps in understand the other person’s feeling without a word being uttered.  There are close to 12 types of facial expressions which are possible which have been listed below and  for each expression, there are multiple muscles which work in tandem to achieve it involuntarily.

There are a total of 43 facial muscles out of which some are major and some are minor. Most of the muscles are controlled by the Facial Nerve which divides into five primary branches – temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular and cervical which supply to the muscles.

Some Features of the Muscles of Facial Expression are:

  • They are Subcutaneously located
  • Develop from the Mesoderm of the 2nd Branchial arch
  • They are supplied by the facial nerve
  • All of them are inserted into the skin

The Muscles which help in various facial expressions:

  1. Smiling and laughing – Zygomaticus Major
  2. Sadness – Levator labii superioris, levator angulioris
  3. Grief – Depressor Anguli Oris
  4. Anger – Dilator naris and depressor septi
  5. Frowning – Corrugator Supercilii, Procerus
  6. Horror, terror, fright – Platysma
  7. Surprise – Frontalis
  8. Doubt – Mentalis
  9. Grinning – Risorius
  10. Contempt – Zygomaticus Minor
  11. Closing the mouth – Orbicularis Oris
  12. Whistling – Buccinator, Orbicularis Oris
Muscles of Facial Expressions
© mplab.ucsd.edu

Muscles of Facial Expression are the Facial muscles with the help of minor and major contractions and relaxation lead to appearance of facial expressions. The Facial muscles responsible for expressions are a group of striated skeletal muscles that control facial expression. These muscles are also called mimetic muscles because they lead to various types of facial expressions to be produced.


  1. Hi Varun, ur blog is really helpful. I am preparing for NBDE-1, pls add me to ur email list to get automatic updates of ur new posts. Thank u buddy!

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