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Types of epithelium in the oral cavity

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Three classifications of oral mucosa (1)
1. Masticatory mucosa:

a. Thick and keratinized stratified squamous epithelium that can endure powerful forces of mastication
b. Located in areas of the gingiva (free and attached) and hard palate
c. Rigid and least permeable to liquid
d. More papillae

2. Lining mucosa:

a. Thin and non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium that allows lamina propria to move and flex
b. Located in the areas of lips, cheeks, floor of mouth, ventral tongue, and soft palate
c. Softer than masticatory mucosa
d. Less papillae

3. Specialized mucosa:

a. Thick and has both keratinized and non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium that makes up of lingual papillae
b. Located in dorsal tongue only
c. Able to sustain compressive forces
d. More permeable to liquid

Col (4)

a. Thin and non-keratinized epithelium
b. The col is a gingival depression located between the buccal and lingual aspects of interproximal gingiva. A col only occurs where there is a contact area. Please see illustration. The illustration is from the mesial. The col is where the yellow sun is sitting. (4)

Differences between gingival epithelium and epithelium in mucosa (3)

• Attached and free gingiva
• Thick thin
• Keratinized non-keratinized
• Lining masticatory

3 types of gingival epithelium (2)

1. Marginal/oral epithelium

a. Consists of stratified squamous epithelium with four layers and lamina propria
b. Located at the highest point of gingival edge
c. The four layers can be classified as keratinized/ parakeratinized/orthokeratinized/ non-keratinized
d. Type I and Type III collagen in lamina propria
e. Has superficial and reticular layer in lamina propria

2. Sulcular Epithelium

a. Thin and non-keratinized
b. Located at the gingival sulcus
c. Less permeable to PMNs than junctional epithelium
d. Semipermeable membrane allows bacteria and fluid to pass through

3. Junctional epithelium

a. Non-keratinized cells adhere to the surface of tooth at gingival crevice
b. Has internal and external basal lamina
c. Internal basal lamina with hemidesmosomes help with the attachment of epithelium to the tooth surface

Draw a diagram:


1. Avery, James K., and Chiego, Daniel J.; Essentials of Oral Histology and Embryology—A Clinical Approach; 3rd edition; Mosby Elsevier; St.Louis, Missouri; 2006.
2. Hatakeyama, S., Yaegashi, T., Oikawa, Y., Fujiwara, H., Mikami, T., Takeda, Y. and Satoh, M. (2006), Expression pattern of adhesion molecules in junctional epithelium differs from that in other gingival epithelia. Journal of Periodontal Research, 41: 322–328.
3. Nanci, Antonio; Ten Cate's Oral Histology: Development, Structure, and Function; 7th edition; Mosby Elsevier; St. Louis, Missouri; 2008.
4. Newman , Michael G.. Carranza's Clinical Periodontology, 11th Edition. Saunders Book Company, 022011

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