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Motor component

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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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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