Bones of the Face: Names, Function & Location

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  • 0:28 Nasal Bones
  • 1:03 Lacrimal Bones
  • 1:51 Zygomatic Bones
  • 2:02 Maxilla and Mandible
  • 2:31 Palantine Bones
  • 4:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, learn which bones help you cry, breathe, eat and see as we review the maxilla, mandible, zygomatic, lacrimal, nasal, vomer and palatine bones of the face. Then, learn which bones are paired.

Bones of the Face

I recently had a friend who is a boxer come over for dinner. He looked terrible. I mean, he told me I should see the other guy, but frankly, I'm not sure if my friend came out on top. He had severe bruising right between his eyes, on the cheeks and on his jaw. My biggest fear was that he broke a bunch of facial bones.

The Nasal Bones

The two bones that form the bridge of the nose are called the nasal bones.
Nasal Bones

As I looked at him, I could see that my friend's nose was clearly broken. This was because the two bones forming the bridge of the nose, called the nasal bones, were all smashed in and everything. It was kind of disgusting. This meant that the scroll-shaped bones within the nose, called the inferior nasal conchae (or turbinates), must have been damaged as well. Since the nose was crushed in, that meant the vomer bone, which is a bone that helps to form the nasal septum dividing the nose into left and right sides, must have been broken as well.

The Lacrimal Bones

Another reason I knew he broke some bones was because a really small and fragile bone on the inner wall of each eye's orbit that provides for the passage of the nasolacrimal duct, called the lacrimal bone, was likely to have been damaged along with all the other bones. While my friend may have been crying because of the physical pain and the emotional pain of losing, it could've also been due to the damage the lacrimal bones sustained. If the lacrimal gland (which produces tears) could not have its tears drain out of the eye through the nasolacrimal duct due to the damage the lacrimal bones sustained, then the tears had nowhere to go but down the side of my friend's cheek.

The Zygomatic Bones

The cheek bones are more formally known as the zygomatic bones.
Zygomatic Bone

As the tears ran down my friend's cheek, they ran over the cheek bone. This bone, which is on each side of the face, is more formally known as the zygomatic bone.

The Maxilla and Mandible

Since I don't like to see my friend cry, I tried to cheer him up by getting him some delicious ice-cream. Unfortunately, the upper jaw (which is made of the the maxilla) and the lower jaw (which is made of the mandible) seemed to be broken as well. The mandible should move up and down against the maxilla in order to help someone eat or talk. In his case, though, his mouth was nearly swollen shut from all of the damage from the fight!

The Palatine Bones

Because his mouth was almost swollen shut, my friend barely managed to mumble that he sensed bleeding from the hard roof of his mouth. The hard roof of the mouth is made up of the maxilla at the front and the bones that make up the back of the hard palate, called the palatine bones.

The hard roof of the mouth is made up of the maxilla in the front and the palatine bones in the back.
Palatine Bones

Paired and Unpaired

All of this damage was worse than my friend thought, because while we have discussed a total of eight facial bones, six of the bones are paired! The vomer bone and mandible are not paired bones, while the maxilla, zygomatic, lacrimal, nasal, inferior nasal conchae and palatine bones are all paired. This means that while 8 unique bones are considered to be facial bones, a total of 14 bones combine together to make up our face. Hence, my friend had a total of 14 broken facial bones!

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