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What Is the Temporalis?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 11 March 2014
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The temporalis is a muscle located in the skull that extends from the temporal fossa to the coronoid process of the jawbone, or mandible. The role of the temporalis muscle is to lift the mandible and allow the jaws to close. The temporalis is also commonly referred to as the temporal muscle.

Covering the temporalis is the temporal fascia, also known as the temporal aponeurosis. Fascia consists of a layer of fibrous tissue used to protect various areas of the body. It can also be used to bind organs or other body parts together. Fascia also separates various body organs or parts in some instances.

As the name of the muscle would suggest, the temporalis is located in the temple area of the head. This is the region on the sides of the head and behind the eyes. Just below the temple lies both the temporal and sphenoid bones. When the jaw muscles are clenched together or unclenched, the temporalis can often be seen and felt as it moves.

The trigeminal nerve is responsible for providing the nerve supply to the temporalis muscle. This nerve is also known as the cranial nerve. One of the primary functions of the trigeminal nerve is to allow sensation, or feeling, in the facial area of the body. Some motor functions are affected by this nerve as well.

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The temporalis has been labeled as one of the muscles of mastication. This means that this muscle plays an active role in the process of chewing. The opening and closing of the mandible, or jawbone, is the responsibility of the temporal muscle.

There are a few medical issues that can affect the temporal area of the head, including the temporalis. For instance, this muscle is often responsible for the development of migraine headaches. The habits of grinding or clenching of the teeth can also lead to pain in the temples.

Trigeminal neuralgia is another health concern affecting this area of the body. Since the trigeminal nerve is connected to the temporalis, the pain of this condition can often be misdiagnosed. It is important to remember that the trigeminal nerve is responsible for almost all facial sensations.

Treatments for pain in or around the temporal muscles should always be evaluated by a medical professional. In most cases, the diagnosis is not serious. In fact, many cases can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Other treatment options, leading up to and including surgery, may be indicated in extreme cases of pain, depending upon the exact source of the pain.

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