Oral cavity

The oral cavity is the most proximal portion of the aerodigestive tract, and is continuous posteriorly with the oropharynx.  

Gross anatomy

Boundaries

The oral cavity includes the lips anteriorly. For purposes of staging oral carcinoma according to the 8th edition of the AJCC TNM staging system, the oral cavity starts at the portion of the lip that contacts the opposed lip (wet mucosa) and excludes the dry vermilion lip.

Posteriorly, the oral cavity extends to a ring of structures (circumvallate papillae, anterior tonsillar pillars, and junction of hard and soft palates) that divides it from the oropharynx

Subsites

The oral cavity is divided into a number of subsites both anatomically and for the purposes of cancer staging:

Related pathology

Anatomy: Head and neck
Share article

Article information

rID: 9616
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: scc, cases, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Oral cavity subsites
  • Subsites of the oral cavity

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.