What is the facial nerve?
The facial nerve carries impulses from the brain to the facial muscles, allowing facial expression and movement. In addition, portions of the facial nerve activate the tear glands, the salivary glands, a tiny ear muscle, and carry taste sensations from the tongue back to the brain. When the nerve impulses to the facial nerve are interrupted, any or all of these functions may be affected. Facial nerve, sends messages from the brain to the face. Through these messages, the facial nerve controls the muscles of your face and forehead. This means that any expressions you make - like raising your eyebrows, squeezing your eyes shut, smiling, or showing your teeth - are all controlled by the facial nerve. The facial nerve also helps your body make saliva (spit) and tears and helps you taste your favorite foods, like pizza or ice cream. Each side of your face has its own facial nerve. The facial nerve starts in the brain and runs through a narrow tube of bone and out to the face from behind the ear. From there it splits into smaller branches of nerves that attach to the muscles of the face. Other small nerve branches run to the glands that make saliva, the glands that make tears, and the front of the tongue.