Home » Anatomy » Head Muscles » TMJ Muscles » Masseter – Functional Anatomy

Masseter – Functional Anatomy

The masseter is a three bellied muscle on the lateral jaw. It is often regarded as having the strongest muscle fibers in the body.

Superficial bellies:


  • anterior two-thirds of the zygomatic arch along the maxilla and temporal bones,


  • anterior belly attaches along the anterior surface of the mandible in front of the attachment of the deep belly.
  • posterior belly attaches to the surface of the ramus behind the attachment of the deep belly

Deep belly:


  • posterior third of the zygomatic arch along the zygomatic process of the temporal bone.


  • lateral surface of the coronoid process of the mandible.


  • elevate the mandible and close the jaw.
  • some protraction of the mandible


  • trigeminal nerve, mandibular division

The masseter is another one of those three-bellied muscles with a strong fascial covering, like gluteus medius and infraspinatus. Also, like those muscles, it balances and stabilizes a joint that needs both strength and flexibility.

Wikipedia entry for Masseter.

Support Integrative Works to
stay independent
and produce great content.

You can subscribe to our community on Patreon. You will get links to free content and access to exclusive content not seen on this site. In addition, we will be posting anatomy illustrations, treatment notes, and sections from our manuals not found on this site. Thank you so much for being so supportive.

Featured Post

Does Your Shoulder Hurt From the Covid-19 Vaccine?

This post offers quick, lasting relief from the pain in your shoulder that came from the vaccine. You will need an ice cube and about 2 minutes.

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

Question? Comment? Typo?
(404) 226-1363
[email protected]

*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.