The oral cavity represents a complex anatomic area. Malfunction or absence of any one area can lead to significant functional problems. For example, subtle lip weakness or malposition can result in a speech impediment and loss of oral sphincter competence. Resection of part of the palate can result in velopalatal insufficiency or oronasal fistula with resulting hypernasal speech and dysphagia. The important functions of each small area of the oral cavity make reconstruction of this region particularly challenging as many ablative and traumatic defects of the oral cavity may involve several subsets of the anatomic area. Because a composite resection of the oral cavity can involve removal of part of the soft palate, buccal mucosa, ret-romolar trigone, floor of mouth, and tongue, a detailed knowledge of oral cavity anatomy is required for good judgment during resection, and it can guide the surgeon in providing maximal restoration of function.
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