Tendons of the Head

Written by noel lawrence
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Tendons of the Head
(Jupiterimages, Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Tendons are fibres of white connective tissue that connect muscle to bone. They are of various lengths and thicknesses, though generally inelastic. In terms of function, they work together with the muscles of the body to exert a pulling force. Although one usually associates tendons with muscles in the limbs, like the Achilles tendon, they can be found in other regions of the body such as the head.

Tendons of the Scalp

The scalp is connected to the skull through tendons that arise from the two places: the occipitalis, a surface muscle in the back of your skull that is associated with the occipital bone a few inches above your neck, and the mastoid temporal region, located at the left and right side of your skull. From these two points, the tendon extends to the galea aponeurotica, a tough layer of tissue that covers the upper part of the cranium. While the scalp is not an active muscle in the body like your hands and feet, it contains important glands as well as providing a place for hair follicles to establish firm roots.

Tendons of the Nose

The procerus is a small muscle that covers the lower part of the nasal bone and upper part of the lateral nasal cartilage. Tendons connect the procerus to the nasal bone. Functionally, the procerus draws down the angle of the eyebrows and produces wrinkles over the bridge of the nose.

Tendon of the Mouth

The pterygomandibular raphé is a tendon of the buccinator muscle -- found between your upper and lower jaws at the back of the mouth -- that holds your cheeks to your teeth during chewing. In conjunction with this muscle, this tendon allows such actions as whistling and smiling. Infants also use this muscle--tendon pairing for suckling.

Tendons of Mastication

The masseter, one of the chief muscles used for chewing, is a thick, quadrilateral muscle that consists of two portions, superficial and deep. The superficial portion is connected through tendons to the maxilla, or the upper jaw. The deep portion is connected through tendons to the mandible, or the lower jaw. This connection allows for the mandible to be raised against the maxilla with great force. The interaction of tendon and muscle allows for the upper and lower jaws to open, close and, therefore, chew food so it may be swallowed.

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