Dissection, showing salivary glands of right side. (Labeled as "submaxillary duct", but is identified as "submandibular duct" in newer sources.)
The submandibular duct or Wharton duct or submaxillary duct is one of the salivary excretory ducts. It is about 5 cm. long, and its wall is much thinner than that of the parotid duct. It drains saliva from each bilateral submandibular gland and sublingual gland to the sublingual caruncle at the base of the tongue.
It begins by numerous branches from the deep surface of the gland, and runs forward between the mylohyoideus, hyoglossus, and genioglossus, then between the sublingual gland and the genioglossus, and opens by a narrow orifice on the summit of a small papilla at the side of the frenulum linguæ.
On the hyoglossus it lies between the lingual and hypoglossal nerves, but at the anterior border of the muscle the lingual nerve passes inferior and medial to the submandibular duct; the terminal branches of the lingual nerve ascend on its medial side.
This is the duct from which a hungry person, preparing to take a first bite of food, might accidentally eject a spray of salivary fluid, or, alternatively, intentionally do so in a process called gleeking.
- Wharton's duct at Who Named It?
- Ten Cate's Oral Histology, Nanci, Elsevier, 2013, page 255
- Wharton T (1656). Adenographia: sive glandularum totius corporis descriptio. London: Wharton. pp. pages 128–137.
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