Buccal nerve

Last revised by Jeremy Jones on 11 Apr 2023

The buccal nerve is the only purely sensory branch of the anterior division of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve. It is not to be confused with the buccal branch of the facial nerve.

Gross anatomy

The buccal nerve divides off the anterior division and passes with the paired nerves to lateral pterygoid between the two heads of the lateral pterygoid muscle. It descends deep to temporalis muscle, between it and the inferior head of the lateral pterygoid muscle. It gives off a small cutaneous branch that supplies a small patch of skin inferior to the zygoma. It continues adjacent to the parotid duct and pierces the buccinator to supply the mucosa of the inner cheek and buccal gingiva of the three mandibular molar teeth.

It is only sensory branch of the anterior division.

Variant anatomy

Some authors document the nerve carrying parasympathetic fibers from the otic ganglion to the buccal mucosal glands.

If there is a third deep temporal nerve, the middle branch, it will course with the buccal nerve, pierce the deep surface of the temporalis muscle with the other deep temporal nerves, and supply it.

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