The floor of the mouth is examined using direct and indirect vision followed by bimanual palpation of the entire area. The patient should be asked to raise the tongue making direct visual examination of the tissues toward the midline of the floor of the mouth possible (Figure 44).
The mirror should be used to examine the areas near the inferior border of the mandible. The tissues should appear moist and very vascular. The normal anatomy of the area should be identified (Figure 44) including:
Bimanual intraoral palpation with the index finger of the nondominant hand supported extraorally by the fingers of the dominant hand will allow the clinician to feel the structures of the area between the fingers as they are compressed together gently (Figures 45 and 46).
The tissue will be soft on palpation with firmer areas noted in the area of the suprahyoid muscles (digastric, geniohyoid, mylohyoid). The sublingual folds will feel ridge-like and mobile. Varicosities are the most common atypical observation in this area. Other atypical findings are enlarged lingual folds and caruncle and a short lingual frenum (ankyloglossia). Ankyloglossia is only considered a problem if it begins to affect the speech development of the individual. Pathologic findings include: