The inferior alveolar artery is a facial artery that branches from the maxillary artery.
It begins close to the site where the maxillary artery arises as one of two branches of the external carotid artery at the top of the back of the jaw. It runs along the outside of the lower jaw. In rare cases, it may branch directly from the external carotid artery on one side of the face while presenting normally on the other side.
The inferior alveolar artery has three branches. The incisor branch runs from the incisor teeth to the middle of the jaw, where it merges into the incisor branch from the other side of the face. The mental branch leaves the lower jaw through an opening and feeds the chin. It then merges with the submental and inferior labial arteries. The mylohyoid branch supplies blood to the mylohyoid muscle in the floor of the oral cavity.
The inferior alveolar nerve runs along the path of the inferior alveolar artery. This nerve is the primary site for dental anesthesia for procedures affecting the teeth of the lower jaw.