Oral Anatomy 1 - The Oral Vestibule
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What is the oral vestibule?
The oral vestibule is the slit-like space between the lips and the teeth and the alveolus.
At rest, or with the mouth open, the vestibule and the oral cavity proper directly communicate between the teeth.
When the teeth bite together, the vestibule is a closed space that communicates with the oral cavity proper only behind the last molars (the retromolar regions)
What is the vestibular fornix/sulcus?
The mucosa covering the alveolus is reflected onto the lips and cheeks forming a trough or sulcus called the vestibular fornix
What are frena?
In some regions of the sulcus, the mucosa may show distinct sickle-shaped folds running from the cheeks and lips to the alveolus.
The upper and lower labial frena or frenula are such folds in the midline.
Other folds of variable dimensions may traverse the sulcus in the regions of the canines or premolars.
Such frena are said to be more pronounced in the lower sulcus, and all folds contain loose connective tissue and are neither muscle attachments nor sites of large blood vessels.
What problems can an enlarged upper labial frenum cause?
- The upper labial frenum should be attached well below the alveolar crest.
- A large frenum with an attachment near the crest may be associated with a midline diastema between the maxillary first incisors.
Prominent frena may also influence the stability of dentures.
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