The facial nerve controls the muscles that help you smile, frown, wrinkle your nose, and raise your eyebrows and forehead. This seventh cranial nerve performs motor and sensory functions.
The facial nerve is a pathway from your brain to certain muscles in your face. It controls muscles that help you make expressions like raising an eyebrow, smiling or frowning. This nerve is also responsible for most of your tongue’s taste sensations.
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The facial nerve performs these motor (movement) and sensory functions:
The facial nerve:
The facial nerve has five branches that perform distinct motor functions:
Several conditions can cause weakness or paralysis of the facial nerve, including:
Symptoms of facial nerve paralysis vary depending on the cause. The symptoms may be temporary or permanent. You may experience:
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The facial nerve plays a key role in making facial expressions. It controls your facial muscles that help you smile, frown, scrunch up your nose and wrinkle your forehead. These nerves also help with movements you don’t think about, like blinking, and sensations like tasting. Health conditions, injuries and surgeries can affect the facial nerves. If you experience temporary or permanent facial nerve weakness or paralysis, talk to a healthcare provider about your treatment options.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/29/2021.
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