The parotid duct or Stensen duct is a duct and the route that saliva takes from the major salivary gland, the parotid gland into the mouth.
It is named after Nicolas Steno (1638–1686), a Danish anatomist credited with its detailed description in 1660.
It passes through the buccal fat, buccopharyngeal fascia, and buccinator muscle then opens into the vestibule of the mouth across from the maxillary second molar tooth on the inner surface of the buccal mucosa at the parotid papilla. The buccinator acts as a valve that prevents inflation of the duct during blowing. Running along with the duct superiorly is the transverse facial artery and upper buccal nerve; running along with the duct inferiorly is the lower buccal nerve.
Blockage, whether caused by salivary duct stones or external compression, may cause pain and swelling of the parotid gland (parotitis).
Outline of side of face, showing chief surface markings.
The left papilla (soft tissue protuberance at the exit) of the parotid duct is clearly visible on the cheek in the right of the photo.
- ^ Ten Cate's Oral Histology, Nanci, Elsevier, 2013, page 255
- ^ Illustrated Dental Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy, Bath-Balogh and Fehrenbach, Elsevier, 2011, page 135