Mental nerve

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Nerve: Mental nerve
Distribution of the maxillary and mandibular nerves, and the submaxillary ganglion. (Mental nerve visible at bottom right, at chin.)
Sensory areas of the head, showing the general distribution of the three divisions of the fifth nerve. (Mental nerve labeled at bottom left, near chin, in yellow.)
Latin nervus mentalis
Gray's subject #200 897
Innervates    chin, lower lip
From mandibular nerve
/ Elsevier

The mental nerve is a general somatic afferent (sensory) nerve which provides sensation to the anterior aspects of the chin and lower lip as well as the buccal gingivae of the mandibular anterior teeth and the premolars. It is a branch of the posterior trunk of the inferior alveolar nerve, which is itself a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve (CN V).

The nerve emerges at the mental foramen in the mandibula, and divides beneath the Triangularis muscle into three branches:

  • one descends to the skin of the chin.
  • two ascend to the skin and mucous membrane of the lower lip.

These branches communicate freely with the facial nerve.


The mental nerve can be blocked with local anesthesia, a procedure used in surgery of the chin, lower lip and buccal mucosa from midline to the second premolar. In this technique, local anesthetic is infiltrated in the soft tissue surrounding the mental foramen.

Additional images

Mandible of human embryo 24 mm. long. Outer aspect.
Mandibular division of the trifacial nerve.
The nerves of the scalp, face, and side of neck.
Outline of side of face, showing chief surface markings.

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.