Landmarks of the Face and Oral Cavity
Angle of the mandible The lower posterior of the ramus.
Anterior faucial pillar Anterior arch of the soft palate.
Anterior naris (NAY-ris) The nostril; plural, nares.
Buccal vestibule Area between the cheeks and the teeth or alveolar ridge.
Canthus (KAN-thus) Fold of tissue at the corner of the eyelids.
Filiform papillae Threadlike elevations that cover most of the tongue.
Fordyce’s (FOR-dise-ez) spots Normal variations that may appear on the buccal mucosa.
Fungiform papillae Knoblike projections on the tongue.
Incisive papilla Pear-shaped pad of tissue that covers the incisive foramen.
Isthmus of fauces The opening between the two arches of the soft palate.
Labial (LAY-bee-ul) commissure The angle at the corner of the mouth where the upper and lower lips join.
Linea alba Normal variation noted on the buccal mucosa.
Mental protuberance Part of the mandible that forms the chin.
Nasion (NAY-ze-on) Midpoint between the eyes just below the eyebrows.
Oral cavity proper The space on the tongue side within the upper and lower dental arches.
Philtrum (FIL-trum) Rectangular area from under the nose to the midline of the upper lip.
Posterior faucial pillar Posterior arch of the soft palate.
Tragus (TRAY-gus) Cartilaginous projection anterior to the external opening of the ear.
Vallate papillae The largest papillae on the tongue, arranged in the form of a V.
Vermilion (vur-MIL-yun) border Darker-colored border around the lips.
The dental assistant must be thoroughly knowledgeable about the landmarks of the face and oral cavity. In addition to serving as useful reference points for dental radiography and other procedures, facial features provide essential landmarks for many deeper structures. Any deviation from normal in surface features may be clinically significant.
You may wish to examine your own face and mouth or those of a partner. An operatory with a dental chair and a light is an ideal setting. However, use of a flashlight and a tongue depressor in the laboratory setting is adequate for intraoral inspection.
Landmarks of the Face
The face is defined as the part of the head that is visible in a frontal view and is anterior to the ears and all that lies between the hairline and the chin.
Regions of the Face
The facial region can be subdivided into nine areas, as follows (Fig. 10-1):