The only neurovascular structure of any significance that must be negotiated with procedures in the mandibular body/symphysis region is the mental neurovascular bundle. The artery and vein that accompany the mental nerve are insignificant from a surgical standpoint. The mental nerve is a terminal branch of the inferior alveolar nerve (mandibular nerve), and provides sensory innervation to the skin and mucosa of the lower lip, the skin in the region of the chin, and the facial gingiva of the anterior teeth.
The mental nerve exists the mental foramen, located midway between the alveolar and basal borders of the mandible and usually below or slightly anterior to the second bicuspid tooth (Fig. 81). The mental nerve divides under the depressor anguli oris muscle into three main branches; one
FIGURE 8- 1 Anatomic dissection of mental nerve branches.
descends to the skin of the chin and the other two ascend to the skin and mucous membrane of the lower lip and gingiva. The branching pattern is variable, however, and several finer branches may be noted. As the branches enter the lower lip, they become superficial and can usually be seen just beneath the mucosa of the lower lip when it is everted.
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