Mandibular Nerve (CN V3) Anatomy
1. Auriculotemporal nerve
2. Chorda tympani nerve
3. Lingual nerve
4. Inferior alveolar nerve (cut)
5. Nerve to mylohyoid
6. Mental nerve
7. Submandibular ganglion
8. Buccal nerve and buccinator muscle (cut)
9. Mandibular nerve (V3) (anterior division and posterior division)
Comment: The mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve exits the skull through the foramen ovale and divides into sensory and motor components. This nerve provides motor control to many of the muscles derived from the 1st branchial arch, most notably the muscles of mastication. The sensory components are represented largely by the auriculotemporal, buccal, lingual, and inferior alveolar nerves.
Preganglionic parasympathetic fibers arising from the facial nerve join the lingual nerve via the chorda tympani nerve to synapse in the submandibular ganglion. These postganglionic parasympathetics innervate the sublingual and submandibular salivary glands and the minor salivary glands of the mandibular submucosa.
Clinical: Trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux) is a neurologic condition characterized by episodes of brief, intense facial pain over 1 of the 3 regions of distribution of CN V. The pain is so intense that the patient often “winces,” which produces a facial muscle tic. The etiology is uncertain but could be from vascular compression of the CN V sensory ganglion and usually is triggered by touch and drafts of cool air on the face.