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Motor component

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The fifth cranial nerve supplies motor functions to the muscles of mastication. Assessment is the same as for motor function elsewhere:

  • inspect for wasting of the temporal and masseter muscles
  • check for function of masseter and pterygoid muscles:
    • ask the patient to clench his teeth - palpate for contraction of the masseter above the mandible
    • ask the patient to open his mouth - pterygoid muscles - and hold his mouth open as the examiner attempts to force it shut. Caution must be exercised.

If there is a unilateral fifth nerve lesion then there may be deviation of the jaw to the weaker, affected side.

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