UW School of Dentistry


Development, Structure and Function of Oral Tissues

Tracy Popowics

3 Credits Per Quarter, 6 Credits Total / Quarters 2-3 (Winter-Spring, First Year)

Course Description

Two-quarter course covering the development, microscopic and submicroscopic structure, and functional aspects of hard and soft oral tissues. Embryonic development of head and neck; morphodifferentiation of face and oral structures; and relationships between development and structure, and structure and function in the histology or ultrastructure of oral tissues.

Educational Objectives

The student will gain knowledge of the histology, embryology, physiology, and cell biology as they relate to the development, organization, and function of oral tissues. The objectives are for the student to (1) understand the biological principles and details of the development, structure, and function of oral tissues, (2) understand the normal structures of the oral tissues in preparation for courses in oral pathology and oral medicine and (3) establish a basis for rational therapy through the application of basic science principles in the diagnosis and treatment of clinical problems.

Course Outline

Lecture topics include: early orofacial development; development of the face and primary and secondary palates; branchial arches and tongue; odontogenesis; amelogenesis; enamel structure; dentin, cementum and root formation; eruption and exfoliation; dental pulp; innervation of teeth and oral structures; craniofacial and dental anomalies; cranioskeletal development; temporomandibular joint; oral mucosa and epithelial differentiation; periodontium and the epithelial attachment; specialized mucosa; gustation; and salivary gland structure and physiology.

Course Expectations

To successfully meet the requirements of this two-quarter course, the student is expected to attend lectures and to pursue on-line laboratories and to demonstrate her/his understanding of the lecture topics and supplemental readings through two midterm exams each quarter, an end of quarter exam the first quarter and a comprehensive final exam at the end of the second quarter.

Effective Winter Quarter 2007, completion of on-line course evaluation is a requirement of this course. Failure to comply will result in an “Incomplete” grade being assigned.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and to reach a diagnosis of the patient’s oral and craniofacial health status.
  • UWSOD Competency 7: Manage pulpal and periradicular disease.


  • Ten Cate’s Oral Histology: Development, Structure, and Function, A. Nanci , 2008 (7th ed.)
  • Handouts
  • Course Website

*last updated: 2/11/2013