Scanning Microscopy


The oral mucosa is classified by function into lining, masticatory and specialized oral mucosa, with regional structural adaptation. In this review, the surface structures of the human oral mucosa have been studied in the scanning electron microscope (SEM). Regional variations in regard to keratinization, cell arrangements and microplications with related specific structures observed in SEM are described and correlated with the appearance of similar areas observed in the light microscope. Furthermore, human oral tissue and cell cultures have also been studied. These systems offer usable and complementary models for performing similar studies in vitro under controlled experimental conditions. We now show that explant cultures of human oral mucosa can propagate both normal epithelial cells and fibroblasts. The surface morphology of both cell types has been investigated in SEM.

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