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Anatomy of the cranial base
Anatomy of the external and middle ear
Anatomy of the eye
Anatomy of the infratemporal fossa
Anatomy of the inner ear
Anatomy of the nose and paranasal sinuses
Anatomy of the oral cavity
Anatomy of the orbit
Anatomy of the pterygopalatine (sphenopalatine) fossa
Anatomy of the salivary glands
Anatomy of the temporomandibular joint and muscles of mastication
Anatomy of the tongue
Bones of the cranium
Muscles of the face and scalp
Nerves and vessels of the face and scalp
Anatomy clinical correlates: Ear
Anatomy clinical correlates: Eye
Anatomy clinical correlates: Skull, face and scalp
Anatomy clinical correlates: Temporal regions, oral cavity and nose
When you’re eating a slice of pizza, the first place food enters is the oral cavity and it is actually where digestion starts. Here, we get to taste the pizza and form a bolus of food to swallow for further digestion in the gut. Many structures work together to chew and swallow like the lips, teeth, and palate, so let’s explore them!
Now, the oral cavity itself is divided into the oral vestibule and the oral cavity proper. The vestibule is the compartment between the anterior and lateral aspects of the teeth and gingiva and the posterior and medial aspects of the lips and cheeks.
Moving further inside is the oral cavity proper, bounded by the dental arches anteriorly and laterally, and the palate superiorly. The oral cavity proper is mainly occupied by the tongue.
Now let’s get back to that slice of pizza. To eat it, first you open your mouth, and the opening through which the food enters is called the oral fissure.
Once the pizza’s inside the oral cavity, you use the lips, which act like valves, to keep the oral fissure closed and the food inside while you’re chewing. The lips, and the muscles within it, also help us exhale through the mouth, whistle, speak, or kiss.
Now, the lips extend from the nasolabial sulci and the nares to the mentolabial sulcus, which is just inferior to the lips, but not all of its surface looks the same.
The most remarkable feature is the part we’re actually used to calling “lips”: a thin, hairless, reddish skin, called the transitional zone, because it represents the transition between the skin of the face and the inner labial mucosa.
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