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Sublingual gland

The sublingual glands are the smallest of the three major pairs of head salivary glands, since the salivary glands are divided into major and minor categories. The major glands are entire masses of secretory tissue with a single duct that connects the exocrine glands with the oral cavity, while the minor glands are individual exocrine glands that secrete directly into the oral cavity via their own individual ducts that are part of their makeup. This is where the sublingual glands, although classed as major glands, fall into both categories. They are collectives exocrine tissue masses, but they have many ducts that open in the area in which they are situated.

  1. Borders
  2. Histology
  3. Innervation
  4. Blood supply
  5. Clinical aspects
  6. Sources
+ Show all
Sublingual gland


The sublingual glands lie bilaterally in the floor of the mouth and within the sublingual folds. They are bordered by the mandible anteroinferiorly and the genioglossus muscle posteroinferiorly. It is covered superiorly by the tongue. Numerous ducts can be seen secreting saliva along the margin of the sublingual folds.

Sublingual fold


In opposition to the parotid glands, the sublingual glands secrete entirely mucinous saliva, which accounts for approximately 3-4% of all saliva production.

Sublingual gland (histological slide)


The nervous supply of the sublingual gland reflects that of the submandibular gland. It occurs via the chorda tympani, which carries fibers that originate from the facial nerve (CN VII) and are classed as secretomotor fibers.

Chorda tympani (lateral-left view)

Blood supply

There are two separate arterial supplies that contribute to the vascularisation of the sublingual gland, which are venously drained via their corresponding veins. The first is that of the lingual artery which branches into the sublingual artery.

Sublingual artery

The second is that of the facial artery which gives rise to the submental artery. The submandibular lymph nodes are responsible for draining the sublingual glands lymphatic region.

Submental artery

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