The mandibular nerve [Vc; V3] (Inferior maxillary nerve) supplies the teeth and gums of the mandible, the skin of the temporal region, the auricula, the lower lip, the lower part of the face, and the muscles of mastication; it also supplies the mucous membrane of the anterior two-thirds of the tongue.

It is the largest of the three divisions of the fifth, and is made up of two roots: a large, sensory root proceeding from the inferior angle of the semilunar ganglion, and a small motor root (the motor part of the trigeminal), which passes beneath the ganglion, and unites with the sensory root, just after its exit through the foramen ovale.

Immediately beneath the base of the skull, the nerve gives off from its medial side a recurrent branch (nervus spinosus) and the nerve to the Pterygoideus internus, and then divides into two trunks, an anterior and a posterior.

The anterior division gives off branches to the four main muscles of mastication and a buccal branch which is sensory to the cheek. The posterior division gives off three main sensory branches, the auriculotemporal, lingual and inferior alveolar nerves and motor fibres to supply mylohyoid and the anterior belly of the digastric muscle.


The mandibular nerve gives off the following branches:

  • From the main trunk of the nerve (before the division)
    • muscular branches, which are efferent nerves for the medial pterygoid, tensor tympani, and tensor veli palatini muscles (motor)[1]
    • meningeal branch (a sensory nerve)
  • From the anterior division
    • masseteric nerve(motor)
    • deep temporal nerves, anterior and posterior (motor)
    • buccal nerve (a sensory nerve)
    • lateral pterygoid nerve (motor)
  • From the posterior division
    • auriculotemporal nerve (a sensory nerve)
    • lingual nerve (a sensory nerve)
    • inferior alveolar nerve (a motor nerve and a sensory nerve - gives off the nerve to mylohyoid (a motor nerve, also supplies the anterior belly of digastric)

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from


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