Lingual Nerve

The lingual nerve is a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve. It lies inferior to the lateral pterygoid and medial and anterior to the inferior alveolar nerve. It supplies sensory innervations to the mucous membrane of the anterior two thirds of the tongue and the gingiva on the lingual side of the mandibular teeth. Most common dental surgeries and procedures should not come in contact with the lingual nerve however, some other procedures including the removal of the mandibular third molars and dental implant placement may cause damage. In third molar removal, three factors have been proven to have an impact on whether or not the lingual nerve is affected during a procedure. These factors are the prior experience of the surgeon, the age of the patient (older patients are at higher risk for damage), and the difficulty in accessing the third molars.