Learn more with this 3D animation about the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses.

What is the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses?

The nasal cavity is the large, air-filled space behind the nose. Paranasal sinuses are small air-filled spaces at the front of the skull, and surrounding the nasal cavity. They are found on the cheeks (the maxillary sinuses), above the eyes (the frontal sinuses), between the eyes (the ethmoidal air cells or sinuses) and behind the ethmoidal aircells  (sphenoid sinuses). 

What does the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses do?

The nasal cavity warms and moistens the air we breathe and helps filter out dust and other harmful bits in the air. It runs back from the nostrils, above the roof of the mouth and curves down to connect with the mouth at the back of the throat.

The paranasal sinus air cavities give your voice its clarity and tone and lighten the weight of the skull. 

Nasal cavity is the main sensory organ responsible for the human sense of smell. It consists of specific receptors (olfactory) which are responsible for transmitting odors into neural impulses.

Illustrations of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses