Story to Help Remember Basic Anatomical Terms

Once upon a time there was a tongue named Timmy. He had a dream of being a dolphin but sadly could not leave the mouth he was attached to. Of course he had friends in there like teeth and cheeks, but he really wanted something more out of life. He had two molar friends in particular who really tried to cheer him up one day. They had come up with the idea of making Timmy a dorsal fin out of a tortilla chip. The teeth all came up with a plan to shape the chip.anterior teeth at the front made the triangle shape. The posterior teeth at the back made the sides more uniform.

The teeth were careful to move the chip slowly from their mesial surfaces or front parts of them to their distal surfaces or their back parts and not to chomp down too hard on their occlusal or biting surfaces because they would break the chip too much. Once they perfected the shape, they had to decide where to hide the chip for when Timmy woke up. They thought of the roof of the mouth but that was too superior to Timmy and he would be able to see the chip if he looked up.

They thought of the floor of the mouth but that was too inferior to Timmy and he might feel the chip under him. Finally they decided to go laterally and hide the chip next to the cheek, then they can cover it by biting or occluding down. When Timmy woke up, his friends shouted “Surprise” and showed him his very own dorsal fin. Timmy was so happy he put it on his back right away.

It was the perfect size to wear and fit right up to the roof of the mouth without hitting it but Timmy did have to make sure to lay low on his belly or ventral side to he didn’t accidentally poke the roof. Timmy was very glad he had all his friends in the oral cavity, he finally felt like a dolphin!
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Terms and definitions


Think of the mid-line or going towards the middle of something

Example: My eye is more mesial on my face than my ear because it is closer to my mid-line


Think of having distance and leaving the mid-line of something

Example: My ear is more distal on my face than my eye because it is further from my mid-line


Think of a latter at a library that swings side to side to get books, so this refers to something on the side

Example: I bit the side of my tongue so I bit the lateral surface of my tongue


Think of above, how superheros fly

Example: your head is more superior than your feet


Think below or underneath

Example: your feet are inferior to your head


Think of a dolphin with it’s fin on it’s back, this is the dorsal fin. If your tongue was a dolphin the fin would be on the surface that has your taste buds and would touch the roof of your mouth.

Example: your spine is on your dorsal side


This is usually termed for the belly or front of something. On us our front is pointed forward but on dogs it points down. For our tongue its the bottom or surface that does not have taste buds.

Example: your belly button is on your ventral side


Think of antlers and how they are at the front of the animal

Example: Antlers are at the anterior of an antelope


Think of the word postpartum like AFTER birth

Example: your back is on the posterior surface of your body

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