Q: The senses of the anterior third of the tongue are provided by which cranial nerve?
head and neck anatomy, tongue, sensory nerves, dental hygiene exam prep

Q: The senses of the anterior third of the tongue are provided by which cranial nerve?

Q: The senses of the anterior third of the tongue are provided by which cranial nerve?

(A.) Fifth
(B.) Ninth
(C.) Eighth
(D.) Twelfth

head and neck anatomy, tongue, sensory nerves, dental hygiene exam prep
Mini Boards Reviews for the National + Local Anesthesia + CSCE Dental Hygiene Boards Exams!

Keywords: senses, anterior third

This is a very difficult question in my opinion. But we will dissect it together so you are more ready for the dental hygiene board exam (NBDHE, NDHCE). First of all, we know that there are 12 cranial nerves, like a dozen eggs. So it is very difficult to make a wild guess!

We have to remember 3 nerves when it comes to the tongue.

  • Trigeminal is the fifth (V) cranial nerve and provides sensation to the anterior 2/3 of the tongue.
  • Glossopharyngeal is the ninth (IX) cranial nerve and provides sensation to the posterior 1/3 of the tongue and pharynx area.
  • Hypoglossal is the twelfth (XII) cranial nerve and innervates the motor muscles of the tongue.

Answer: (A.) Fifth

How do I remember the 5th  cranial nerve is related to the anterior tongue and not the 9th  Because #5 is before (anterior) to #9. Look at the image we have created, 5 is in the front and 9 is in the back. Does this make sense? This is probably an example of a simple memory trick – tricks do not always have to involve mnemonics.

The other answer choice, the vestibulocochlear nerve is the 8th (VIII) cranial nerve and provides hearing and balance.

All this information is part of the subject of Head and Neck Anatomy at StudentRDH Dental Hygiene Board Exam Review (for the NBDHE, NDHCE). Because there is a lot to learn, we made our reviews “bite-sized” so you can digest the content a little more easily. Remember that there are 17 subjects to learn if you want to be complete ready for the boards. So start early! If you have read the post today, at least you know now that the tongue has 3 nerves (5th, 9th, and 12th). Congratulations, you are getting more and more ready for the dental hygiene boards!

Tell one friend today to sign up for StudentRDH vitamins so he/she can get those mini-reviews too! Together, we are stronger!

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(Disclaimer: StudentRDH is NOT affiliated with the NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, CDCA, WREB.)

Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS

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