Is there an anterior loop of the inferior alveolar nerve?
The inferior alveolar nerve has an anterior ramification with two terminal branches, the mental nerve and the anterior plexus (or incisor nerve ). The mental nerve is described to have a superior, lateral, and posterior course formed as a loop. The length of the loop is reported to be between 3 and 7 mm. In the present study, dissection of the ramification of the inferior alveolar neurovascular bundle was performed unilaterally in 58 patients. In 43 patients no loop was found, in 13 cases the loop was 0.5 mm, and in two cases the loop was 1.0 mm long. In addition, the anatomy of the ramification with the mental and incisor canals frequently diverged in other respects from prevalent descriptions in the literature.