External wing muscle


The lateral pterygoid muscle opens the jaw.

Latin: Lateral pterygoid muscle
English: lateral pterygoid muscle

Synergists: especially the suprahyal muscles: Geniohyoideus muscle, digastricus muscle, mylohyoideus muscle, stylohyoideus muscle
Antagonists: Masseter muscle, temporalis muscle, pterygoideus medialis muscle


The outer wing muscle is the only jaw opener. In addition, he pushes the lower jaw in the opposite direction when contracting on one side, which results in a grinding movement.


Approach: Mandibular bone (Condylar process) and the temporomandibular joint (joint capsule in the Articular disc)

Origin: Sphenoid bone (Ala major; Pterygoid process)

Innervation: Lateral pterygoid nerve of Mandibular nerve


Of the outer wing muscle has two muscle heads that share the jaw to open. Here, the lower muscle belly pulls the lower jaw head forward from its resting position. The upper head then guides the Articular cartilage (Articular disc) and thus supports the movement.

Furthermore, the muscle can be moved to the opposite side in the event of one-sided contraction. This causes the food to be ground up.

common illnesses

The outer wing muscle plays a role in diseases and malpositions of the Temporomandibular joint such as the craniomandibular dysfunction. You will also find further complaints of the temporomandibular joint here.