Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

3610 N. Josey Ln. Suite 104, Carrollton, TX

Oral Anatomy 101

A Patient's Oral AnatomyWhat’s in your mouth? You know you have teeth, a tongue and two lips, but do you know what else your oral anatomy is comprised of? Find out below! North Dallas cosmetic dentist Dr. Darian Hampton shares the basic components of your oral anatomy.


Your teeth, which are supported by the jawbones, allow you to speak and chew, and contribute to the shape of your face. Kids typically have 20 primary (deciduous) teeth, developing their first permanent teeth around 6 years old. Adults usually have 32 teeth. There are various types of permanent teeth, including: central incisors, lateral incisors, canines, premolars, molars and wisdom teeth. Each performs a particular function.


Your gingiva, or gums, is the soft tissue in your mouth. Your gums surround your teeth and cover your jawbones, providing a protective barrier.


The roof of your mouth is called the “palate,” and is separated into two sections: the hard palate and the soft palate. The hard palate refers to the front part of the roof of your mouth, the solid arch-shaped region that attaches to your teeth and gums. The soft palate refers to the flexible region directly behind the hard palate, near the back of your throat, where your gag reflex occurs.


Your tongue, a muscular organ, is affixed to the bottom your mouth by the lingual frenum, the membrane on the underside of the tongue. You also have papillae, or small bumps, on the top surface of your tongue, which include your taste buds.

Your extremely flexible tongue serves a number of functions, including facilitating speaking, chewing, swallowing and digesting.

Mouth Floor

The floor of your mouth is shaped like a crescent and is comprised of mucous membranes extending inward from the lower jawbone, as well as from the gum line to the tongue. Your tongue takes up most of the space on your mouth floor. However, the floor of your mouth is also home to glands and nerves.


Your cheeks are the interior sides and front of your mouth. Your cheeks are comprised of fat tissue covered with skin. Inside of this fat tissue is a mucous membrane. Your buccinators, or cheek muscles, are integral in helping you smile, swallow and keep food in your mouth while you eat, among other functions.


Your lips can be described as the soft, fleshy tissue connected to the front cheek area. Skin covers the outside of your lips, and your gums attach to the inside area of the lips that is covered by the mucous membrane.

Thanks to the many receptors located on the surface of your lips, they are sensitive and help you identify textures and the temperature of food. Your lips also help keep food inside the mouth while you eat, as well as helping you speak.

Do you ever wonder why lips are pink or red? Their color is due to the blood vessels located near the surface of the skin on the lips.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hampton to check your oral health and learn more about your oral anatomy, please contact Hampton Family and Cosmetic Dental by calling (971) 695-4594.