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Hard palate

The hard palate is the anterior horizontal bony part of the palate that forms the roof of the oral cavity and floor of the nasal cavity. Most of the hard palate is formed by the palatine processes of the maxillae, the horizontal plates of the palatine bones complete it posteriorly. On its inferior oral surface it is lined by oral mucosa (containing innumerable palatine glands) and on its superior nasal surface it is lined by respiratory mucosa.

It has several foramina including:

Branches of several vessels contribute to a rich blood supply of the hard palate:

Similarly named veins of the hard palate drain to the pterygoid venous plexus.

The sensory innervation of the hard palate is provided by branches of the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve which synapse in the pterygopalatine ganglion:

  • greater palatine nerve supplies most of the hard palate, supplying the palate anterior to the greater palatine foramina
  • nasopalatine nerve supplies the hard palate anterior to the incisive foramen

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 53430
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Bony palate

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: hard palate
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