The buccal nerve originates from the anterior trunk of the mandibular nerve. It is mainly a sensory nerve, but to the lateral pterygoid muscle as well as towards part of the temporalis muscle, may carry the motor innervation.
The buccal nerve travels laterally in the middle of the upper and lower heads of the lateral pterygoid and afterwards descends near the anterior border of the insertion of the temporalis muscle, often slipping through the tendon of the temporalis, towards the anterior margin of the ramus of the mandible. Lateral towards the buccinator muscle, it proceeds into the cheek in order to supply general sensory nerves towards the adjacent skin as well as oral mucosa and the buccal gingivae of the lower molars.
- A branch to the lateral pterygoid muscle.
- Buccinator muscle
- A smaller branch towards the anterior deep temporal nerve for the temporalis muscle.
- The terminal branches supply the cheeks and the mucosa lining their inner surface.
The nerve transporting parasympathetic fibres via the otic ganglion towards the buccal mucosal glands.
If there is a third deep temporal nerve, the middle branch, it will travel along with the buccal nerve and perforate the deep surface of the temporalis muscle together with the other deep temporal nerves and supply it.