Nasopalatine Nerve

Written by Daaniyal Khawaja

Last updated June 17, 2024 • 7 Revisions

The nasopalatine nerve is a branch of the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve.

It supplies sensory innervation to the mucosa of the nasal septum, anterior hard palate and parts of the gingiva (gums).

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Course

The nasopalatine nerve arises from the pterygopalatine ganglion (a parasympathetic ganglion situated in the pterygopalatine fossa). It is formed by fibres from the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve.

After its formation, the nasopalatine nerve exits the pterygopalatine fossa and enters the nasal cavity via the sphenopalatine foramen – a small opening at the junction of the sphenoid and palatine bones.

It passes along the roof of the nasal cavity to reach the nasal septum. The nerve then travels inferiorly and anteriorly along the nasal septum.

At the base of the septum, the nasopalatine nerve traverses the incisive canal of the hard palate to enter the roof of the mouth. It terminates by anastomosing with the fibres of the greater palatine nerve to supply the anterior hard palate.

Fig 1
The nasopalatine nerve travels inferiorly and anteriorly along the nasal septum before passing through the incisive canal.

Fig 2
The branches of the pterygopalatine ganglion and the maxillary nerve.

Sensory Supply

The nasopalatine nerve provides general sensory innervation to:

  • Posteroinferior portion of the nasal septum.
  • Anterior hard palate.
  • Gingiva associated with the upper incisors.

Parasympathetic Supply

The parasympathetic fibres of the nasopalatine nerve innervate the mucus glands of the mucosa of the nasal septum and anterior hard palate.