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Oral Physiology Dent 207

Oral mucosal sensations

Touch Pressure Temperature Pain Stereogenesis

Ability to detect the shape of objects Sense of movement & position of limbs & other body parts Role of muscle spindles

Proprioception - Kinesthesia

Special sensation taste

Touch & pressure

A & A fibers (group II & III sensory neurons) Cell bodies in trigeminal ganglion Secondary neurons convey signals to the other side of the brainstem Then to thalamus & cortes

Area of mouth on somatosensory cortex

Lower part of postcentral gyrus A large area high degree of sensitivity Lip area on cortex are disproportionate to their actual size > thumb area

Temperature sensation

Oral mucosa is very sensitive to hot & cold Protective mechanism Receptors

Bare nerve endings Respond to temps > threshold (hot) & < threshold (cold) Skin or lip temp receptors threshold = temp of skin (25C) Intraoral receptors have higher thresholds

Temperature sensation

Fibers are A & C fibers (sensory groups III & IV

Slow transmitting In brain - no separate pathway to cortex for temp & pain sensation In Spinal cord separate pathway exists Impulses reach thalamus through trigeminothalamic tract (trigeminal laminscus)

Temperature sensation regional

Max. tolerable temp in mouth = 70 80C

Lip cannot detect temp pain instead due to tissue damage

Tongue less sensitive than lips Palate may blister at lower temps Hot stimuli on tongue tissue damage stimulation of cold & warmth receptors

Not reported elsewhere in the body Evidence that heat may be discriminated

Pain is the only sensation detected in teeth

Pressure sensation

Teeth are sensitive to pressure applied axially or laterally

Stimulation of receptors in periodontal ligament

End-organs of the Ruffini type


A class of slowly adapting mechanoreceptor thought to exist only in the glabrous dermis and subcutaneous tissue of humans

Nerve fibers are A Response vary according to position with PDL

Teeth respond as if they have axis of rotation between middle & apical 1/3s of root

Receptors near axis of rotation adapt rapidly Receptors furthest away adapt slowly


Impulses from

Muscles of the tongue Muscles of mastication Temporomandibular joint Tongue muscles Mandibular elevators

Muscles containing muscle spindles

Cell bodies of fibers are in mesencephalic nucleus of trigeminal nerve


Special sensation Chemoreception perceived directly in the cortex

Parasympathetic Travel with branches of trigeminal nerve Dorsum of the tongue Soft palate Epiglottis Pharyngeal wall Esophagus Taste is the main stimulant to saliva flow Governs the use of oral hygiene aids like toothpastes Governs food choice sweet cariogenic

Receptors are only in the head region

Significant of taste

Taste buds

Each bud is a group of taste receptors Develop early in fetal life

Circumvallate form by 14 weeks in utero

Taste buds on the tongue

Tongue is derived from 2 branchial arches

Anterior 2/3s from 1st arch

Filiform rarely have buds Fungiform buds on surface Foliate

Buds are on lateral walls of their ridges 1500 buds Location Number of buds 250 300 buds on each of 10 12 papillae Decrease with age loss of taste sensitivity Von Ebners glands


Posterior 1/3 from 3rd arch

Regional distribution of different taste sensations

Types of taste perception

Salt facial nerve area Sweet facial nerve area Acid facial nerve area Bitter buds in glossopharyngeal innervation area

Dorsum is more sensitive to acid & bitter stimuli Old people complain of decreased taste sensation

Bitter taste is not affected So not related to decreased population of buds on circumvallate papillae In denture wearers palate is covered

Taste bud cells

Epithelial cells

Subject to turnover 2 -30 days Types I, II, III, IV

Lose myelination after entering the bud End adjacent to epithelial cells

Nerve fibers

In invaginations of type I Coiled round type II Synapting with type III

Taste pore contains (pore substance)

Cell tips Gel-like material Ascorbic acid Enzymes

Type I (dark cells)

At periphery of the bud 2/3s of cells End at the bud pore with microvilli Separated by basement membrane from pore substance Apical granules - claimed to secrete the pore substance Basal end reach down to the basement membrane Have lateral extensions extending across the other cells & verve fibrils Invaginated apical nucleus

Type II (light cells)

Thicker microvilli Contain a number of vesicles Smooth-walled apical nucleus 20% of bud cells Do not reach apical basement membrane Do not show any synaptic-like features

Type III & IV

Type III

Slender peg-like cells No microvilli Appear to synapse with adjacent nerve fibers Progenitor for the other 3 types of cells

Type IV (progenitor cells)

Sensory mechanism of taste

Sapid: substances stimulating taste sensation Gustation: process involved in taste perception Sapid

Must be in solution React with pore contects & bud cells (taste receptors)

Gustation theory

Old theory - Inhibition or potentiation of the pore enzymes changes in receptor cells More acceptable theories

Changes in membrane permeability of receptor cells or nerve fibers resulting from binding of excitatory substances action potential

Evidence - linear relationship between conc.of sapid & frequency of action potential in the gustatory nerve

Gustatory pathways

Autonomic pathways Small myelinated slowly-conducting axons Synapse at nucleus of tractus solitarius 2 neurons cross midline in medial lamniscus thalamus 3 neurons - lower part of postcentral gyrus

Classification of taste

Henning: 4 types of taste

Salt, sweet, sour, bitter Used in testing taste sensitivity

They didnt talk about modalities of taste but extremes of taste type (corners of taste tetrahedron All tastes being inside the tetrahedron Alkaline or metallic taste are not taste categories Taste buds vary in sensitivity

A few respond to one taste modality Most respond to more than one One modality is dominant

Acid taste

Acid taste hydrogen ions blocks K channels depolarization

Inorganic acids taste metallic Organic acids taste fruity

Salt taste

Stimulation of receptors by cations Gustant type is NaCl NaF tastes less salty In low conc. sweet instead of salty

Potassium chloride Potassium sulphate

Possible theory: opening of Na channels depolarization

Sweet taste

Chemical similarity between sweet & bitter sapid materials Gustant type is sucrose Other substances

Some amino acids Lead acetate Chloroform Saccharin Cyclamate

Sucrose is not desirable cariogenic Non-cariogenic sweeteners

Sugar alcohol sorbitol, xylitol Covalent hydrogen bond loosely attached to a second group with a long distance Binds to a mirror image conformation on the receptor membrane closure of K channels depolarization

Common chemical feature of sweet taste-producing materials

Bitter taste

Type gustant is quinine

Has a therapeutic value Used in many alkaline drinks

Alkaloids Glycosides Picric acid Nitrus & sulphide groups Mg sulphate Calcium oxide

Other stimulant sapid materials

Bitter tasting substances are harmful/poisonous taste is used as a warning in animals Common chemical feature of bitter taste-producing substances

Covalent hydrogen bond loosely attached to a second group with a shorter distance Cellular mechanism of stimulation is not well-understood


The total sensation induced when a particular foodstuff is introduced into the mouth Taste is a major component of flavor Flavor depends on simultaneous stimulation of


If olfaction is blocked, tasting some flavors can be difficult e.g. flavor of alginate due to texture Mustard, chilly, pepper & ginger stimulate nociceptors of trigeminal nerve - hot flavor

Touch receptors in the palate

Reactions to irritants on the lingual surface

Adaptation of taste perception

Adaptation if stimulation continued

e. g. decreased perception of sweetness food eaten after another More central level of being accustomed to different levels of sweetness

Sweetness is considered as acquired

Absent or weakly presents in infants

Factors affecting taste perception

Oral temperature

Cold reduction in receptor ability Ice-cream need to be more sweet than hot desserts to be acceptably sweet
Resulting perception is hard to explain

Combinations of gustants

Hormones Age reduction in taste perception Genetic factors Deprivation from salt - Low threshold to NaCl Dehydration high threshold to NaCl

Beneficial modification (getting the body need of salt) Diminish taste perception to all kind of taste Increase bitter taste

Cigarette smoking

Local anesthesia

Salt & sweet tastes are reduced Taste sensation is abolished to bitter, then salt, acid & sweet