The dentist is accustomed to the everyday clinical use of anaesthesia, a fundamental measure in pain control, used in the vast majority of dental procedures. By examining the scientific literature, it is possible to find works of particular interest which allow better understanding of physiology and pharmacology, in the area of ​​the stomatognathic apparatus and also specifically concerning dental anaesthesiology. From a clinical point of view, understanding and in-depth knowledge of certain processes can be useful in finding the correct approach for the patient and in managing clinical issues.
Food intake is a carefully regulated biological process. Taste and somatosensory information (temperature, touch, nociception) are conveyed by primary afferents in the oropharyngeal region. The main gustatory contribution to the nucleus of the solitary tract comes from the tongue through the afferences of the lingual nerve to the tympanic chord, branch of the VII pair of cranial nerves (facial). A secondary palatal contribution is carried from the greater palatine nerve. The task of conducting somatosensory signals coming from the tongue, from the oral mucosa, from the teeth and from the palate to the brainstem belongs to the maxillary and mandibular nerve branches, that is the second (V2) and third branch (V3) of the trigeminal.
Some anatomo-physiological indications – contiguity, partial convergence in the nucleus of the solitary tract – as well as experimental evidence suggest a close functional correlation between the gustatory and trigeminal systems. From a not strictly neurophysiological point of view, it should be noted how the formula and state of teeth are determinants of nutrition: in other words, we are talking about trigeminal-gustatory integration. Authors have suggested how a differentation of the trigeminal nerve, following for example the loss of dental elements, can induce limitations to taste. This hypothesis was recently investigated by Lecor, Touré and Bouche on a human sample of 300 individuals, randomly divided into 3 equally split groups. The method of (temporary) differentation used in this case was the administration of local dental anaesthesia. The first group (IAN) was treated with the administration of target-controlled transcortical anaesthesia at the intraosseous course of the inferior alveolar nerve. In the case of the second group (MdN), the same nerve was approached before entering the mandibular canal. The last group (MxN) instead received a palatal or retrotuberal administration, in order to anaesthetise the upper alveolar branches of the maxillary nerve, and acted as a control group. The study’s primary objective was to compare the electrogustometric thresholds (EGMt) in the three groups before and after the temporary nerve deafferentation.
As hypothesised, significant differences were found in the IAN and MdN groups, but not in the control. The data confirms the hypothesis regarding the involvement of dental afferents in taste perception.

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