The Salivary Glands
Advertisements help pay for this website. Thank you for
oral cavity | Main Anatomy
Index | The pharynx
Last updated 30 March 2006
- There are three large, paired salivary glands: the
parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands.
- In addition to the main salivary glands, there are
numerous small accessory salivary glands scattered over
the palate, lips, cheeks, tonsils, and tongue.
Parotid Glands (p. 670, 751)
- The parotid glands (G. para, near + otis,
ear) are the largest of the three pairs of salivary
- Each gland is wedged between the mandible and the sternocleidomastoid
muscle and partly covers them.
- The parotid gland is wrapped with a fibrous
capsule (parotid fascia) that is continuous
with the deep investing fascia of the neck.
- Viewed superficially, the parotid gland is somewhat
triangular in shape.
- Its apex is posterior to the angle of the mandible and
its base is along the zygomatic
- The parotid gland overlaps the posterior part of the masseter muscle.
- The parotid duct
(Stensen's duct) is about 5 cm long and 5 mm in diameter.
- It passes horizontally from the anterior edge of the
- At the anterior border of the masseter muscle, the
parotid duct turns medially
and pierces the buccinator muscle.
- It enters the oral cavity
opposite the second maxillary molar.
Blood Vessels of the Parotid Gland (p. 670)
Lymphatic Drainage of the Parotid Gland (p. 671)
- The lymph vessels of this gland end in the superficial
and deep cervical lymph nodes.
of the Parotid Gland (p. 671)
- The parasympathetic fibres are derived from the glossopharyngeal
nerve (CN IX) through the otic
- Stimulation of these fibres produces a thin watery
(serous) saliva to flow from the parotid duct.
- The sympathetic fibres are derived from the cervical ganglia through the external carotid plexus.
- Stimulation of these fibres produces a thick mucous
Submandibular Glands (p. 751)
- Each of these U-shaped
salivary glands is about the size of a thumb and lies
along the body of the mandible.
- It is partly superior and partly inferior to the
posterior 1/2 of the base of the mandible.
- It is partly superficial and partly deep to the mylohyoid muscle.
- The duct passes deep and
then superficial to the lingual nerve.
- It opens by one to three orifices on a small sublingual papilla beside the lingual frenulum.
- The submandibular gland is supplied by parasympathetic,
secretomotor fibres from the submandibular
ganglion (preganglionic fibres from the chorda tympani via the lingual
Sublingual Glands (pp. 751-2)
- These are the smallest of the three paired salivary
glands and the most deeply situated.
- They are almond-shaped
and lie in the floor of the mouth
between the mandible
and the genioglossus
- The paired glands unite to form a horseshoe-shaped
glandular mass around the lingual
- Numerous small ducts (10
to 12) open into the floor of the mouth.
- Sometimes one of the ducts opens into the submandibular duct.
- The nerves the accompany the submandibular and sublingual
glands are derived from the lingual
and chorda tympani nerves
and from the sympathetic
- The parasympathetic secretomotor fibres are from the submandibular ganglion.