The cheeks form the sides of the mouth and, like the lips, are muscles covered with skin on the outside and mucous membranes on the inside. Examination of the oral mucosa is especially important in adolescents who chew tobacco to screen for oral cancer. You may also note
Disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue on a mucous membrane; usually painful.
A swelling like a sac due to distension of a hollow organ or cavity with mucus.
, or trauma.
The gingiva (gums) is the mucosal membrane that covers the periodontal ligaments, the alveolar sockets, bones of the jaw, and borders the teeth at their neck. The periodontal ligament is made up of bundles of connective tissue fibers that anchor the teeth within the jaws. Within the bones of the jaw are small craters known as the alveolar sockets. As the teeth erupt, ridges of bone called alveolar processes develop around the teeth to provide support. (See Chapter 2: Dental Development
Examination of the gingiva can help reveal
Inflammation of the gums.
, which if untreated, can progress to bone involvement, known as
Inflammation of the periodontium and especially the periodontal membrane .
. This is important to note for several reasons. First, severe periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. Second, there is increasing medical evidence that periodontal disease can adversely affect other disease processes, such as heart disease and diabetes.