II. Physiology

  1. Olfactory Sensation is primary trigger for Taste Sensation
  2. Odorous or tastable particles dissolve in Saliva and directly contact gustatory receptors
  3. Gustatory receptors (Taste Buds) are present on the Tongue, Soft Palate, Larynx, epiglottis and proximal third of Esophagus
    1. Gustatory receptors differentiate only five Taste Sensations: bitter, salt, sour, sweet and savory (umami)

III. Anatomy: Taste Innervation

  1. Background
    1. Multiple nerve pathways preserve gustatory function (contrast with a single olfactory pathway)
    2. Complete gustatory function loss is much less likely than olfactory function loss
  2. Tongue Innervation (parasympathetic fibers)
    1. Anterior two thirds of Tongue: Lingual nerve (Chorda Tympani branch of Facial Nerve or Cranial Nerve 7)
    2. Posterior one third of Tongue: Glossopharyngeal Nerve
  3. Palate
    1. Greater superficial petrosal nerve
  4. Pharynx and Larynx
    1. Vagus Nerve
  5. Adjunctive Sensation of Temperature and stinging, sharpness or irritation
    1. Trigeminal Nerve

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