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Protecting All Children's Teeth (PACT): A Pediatric Oral Health Training Program
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Cheeks & Gums

The cheeks form the sides of the mouth. Like the lips, the cheeks 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.

Along with trauma. you may also note the following:

Aphthous Ulcers: Disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue on a mucous membrane; usually painful.
Mucoceles: A swelling like a sac due to distension of a hollow organ or cavity with mucus.

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.

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 gingivitis, which if untreated, can progress to bone involvement, known as periodontitis. Severe periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums.
Periodontitis: Inflammation of the periodontium and especially the periodontal membrane .
Fast Facts
Examination of the oral mucosa is important for cancer screening in adolescents who may be using tobacco products.
Research shows that periodontal disease can adversely affect other diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease.
Along with screening for cancer, examination of the oral mucosa may reveal signs of trauma, aphthous ulcers, or mucoceles.
As the teeth erupt, ridges of bone called the alveolar processes develop around the teeth to provide support.
Chapter Photo Gallery
View the Chapter 1 Photo Gallery.
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