QS Study

The hard palate is a partition in between the nasal and oral cavity. It is a thin horizontal bony plate of the skull, located in the roof of the mouth. It is vital for feeding and speech.


The anterior two-thirds are formed by the palatine processes of the maxilla and the posterior one third by the horizontal plate of the palatine bones. The underlying bony structure is composed of (i) palatine processes of the maxilla; and (ii) horizontal plates of the palatine bones.

Hard Palate 1

Fig: Hard Palate Formation

Attachments and relations

The anterolateral margins of the palate are continuous with the alveolar arches and gums.

  • The posterior margin gives attachment to the soft palate.
  • The superior surface forms the floor of the nose.
  • The inferior surface forms the roof of the oral cavity.

There are three main foramina/canals in the hard palate:

  • Incisive canal – located in the anterior midline, transmits the nasopalatine nerve.
  • Greater palatine foramen – located medial to the third molar tooth, transmits the greater palatine nerve and vessels
  • Lesser palatine foramina – located in the pyramidal process of the palatine bone, transmits the lesser palatine nerve.

Hard Palate 2

Fig: The nerve supply (right) and blood supply (left) of the palate

Blood supply

Arteries: Greater palatine branch of the maxillary artery. Supply is carried out by greater palatine arteries via the third part of the maxillary artery.

Veins: Pterygoid plexus of veins. The veins of hard palate flow out into the pterygoid venous plexus (primarily) and pharyngeal venous plexus.

Nerve supply

Greater palatine and nasopalatine branches of the pterygopalatine ganglion (maxillary nerve).

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