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Head and Neck Anatomy: Part I – Bony Structures

Course Number: 591


The head and neck area has uniquely shaped bones which are unlike those found in the appendicular skeleton. There are many immovable joints between the bones in the skull which act to protect and define the cranial and facial cavities. These immovable bones are important attachment areas for muscles and ligaments that move the head, the mandible and create facial expressions. Knowing the location of bones makes understanding the muscles in the head and neck easier. The bones also have numerous openings in them to allow passage of nerves and blood vessels plus drain the sinus cavities. Knowing where these are also is a great help in understanding the complex pathways taken by the nerves to provide the dense sensory innervation of the head. Bony landmarks are therefore immensely important in locating the proper areas for delivery of local anesthetic before doing painful procedures in the oral cavity.