Fact Check

Does This Image Show Innervation of the Teeth?

The nerves are said to stem from the brain, then extend around the face before ending in the teeth.

Published Nov 26, 2021

Human anatomy scientific illustrations with latin/italian labels: Nervus trigeminus (Trigeminal nerve) (Getty Images)
Human anatomy scientific illustrations with latin/italian labels: Nervus trigeminus (Trigeminal nerve) (Image Via Getty Images)
Claim:
A widely circulated image on social media depicted the nerves that run from the human brain, across the face, and into each individual tooth.

Ever wonder why the pain from a toothache doesn’t seem to just stay in the tooth? A photo shared to social media offers an intricate look at how closely nerves originating in the human brain extend around the face and spread down to each individual tooth.

The image in question was popularized in November 2021 when it was shared to Reddit, but had been shared to social media in the years prior by doctors and dentists alike.

And it’s true and authentic. The image was created by Anatomy Next, a medical publishing company that specializes in printed books and digital software and depicts the nerve connections between the brain and the teeth.

Nerves that end in each individual tooth originate from the maxillary nerve, which stems from the trigeminal nerve, a mixed nerve bundle made of both motor and sensory fibers that extends around the brain and over the entire face. The trigeminal nerve provides sensory innervation in the oral and nasal cavities, as well as the ear, conjunctiva (mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye), and the skin of the face, according to Anatomy Next.

Making up the second branch of the trigeminal nerve, the maxillary nerve provides sensory information to the central nervous system from the teeth of the upper jaw, the upper lip and check, and the middle parts of the face.

Sources

“The Nerves That Innervate the Teeth.” R/Interestingasfuck, 15 Nov. 2021, www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/quob1w/the_nerves_that_innervate_the_teeth/.

Maxillary Nerve (CN V2). https://anatomy.net/maxillary-nerve-cn-v2. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

Trigeminal Nerve (CN V). https://anatomy.net/trigeminal-nerve-cn-v. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

Madison Dapcevich is a former writer for Snopes.

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