Mandibular Foramen: Function and Anatomy
The opening of your mouth consists of two parts: your upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible). These vital bones work in sync to help you eat, speak, and create facial expressions. The lower jaw is the only bone in your skull that moves. It moves up and down during these actions to chew, help create sounds, and change the shape of your mouth. Your lower jaw connects to your skull via your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Your mandibular foramen itself is the canal opening on each side of your lower jaw (which explains the “mandibular” part of the name). While it doesn’t contain any muscle itself, it is connected to your face and neck muscles.
This essential structure houses nerves and blood vessels as they traverse from your mouth to elsewhere in your body. These nerves and vessels ensure you can feel sensation from your teeth and supply your bones, skin, muscles, teeth, gums, and other tissues with blood.
Your mandibular foramen contains your: