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Inferior alveolar nerve

The inferior alveolar nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that stems from the mandibular nerve in the head. The inferior alveolar nerve is situated near the lower jawbone, known as the mandible. It crosses to the mandibular foramen (the upper side portion of the mandible) and provides a nerve extension to the mylohyoid muscle that makes up the bottom of the oral cavity. The nerve supplies an additional extension to the small muscle just below the mandible known as the digastric.

The inferior alveolar nerve is also located within the mandible in an area called the mandibular canal. Its entrance is made possible by the mandibular foramen, which is an opening in the lower jawbone. The bottom row of teeth receives sensory branches from the nerve. These inferior alveolar branches comprise the network of nerve fibers known as the inferior dental plexus, which then supplies the teeth with sensory information. The nerve also provides sensation to canines and incisors.

Anesthesia that blocks the inferior alveolar nerve is often administered to patients undergoing dental procedures. They experience loss of sensation in their teeth, lower lip, and chin.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Inferior alveolar nerve

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