Last revised by Travis Fahrenhorst-Jones on 31 Aug 2021

The palate is the partition between the oral and nasal cavities, forming the roof of the oral cavity and the floor of the nasal cavity. It is composed of the osseous fixed hard palate comprising the anterior 2/3rds of the palate and a mobile soft palate devoid of bone and with multiple functions forming the posterior 1/3rd of the palate.

On its inferior (oral) surface it is lined by oral mucosa (which contains innumerable palatine glands) and on its superior (nasal) surface it is lined by respiratory mucosa. In the midline the palatine raphe forms a white streak.

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

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

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

Special sensory taste fibers from the taste buds on the oral surface of the soft palate are supplied by fibers of the greater petrosal nerve.

Motor innervation of the muscles of the soft palate is provided by the pharyngeal plexus of nerves apart from tensor veli palatini which is innervated by the nerve to medial pterygoid (a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve).


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