The palate (also known together the ‘roof of the mouth’), creates a department between the sleep and oral cavities. The is separated into two unique parts:

Hard palate – made up of bone.It is immobile.

You are watching: The structure that forms the anterior roof of the mouth is the:

Soft palate – made up of muscle fibres extended by a mucous membrane.It deserve to be elevated to close the pharyngeal isthmus during swallowing – this avoids the food bolus from entering the nasopharynx.

In this article, we will look in ~ the anatomy of the palate; that is structure, role and neurovascular supply.


The palate divides the sleep cavity and the oral cavity, through the difficult palate positioned anteriorly and also the soft palate posteriorly.

It creates both the roof of the mouth and also the floor of the sleep cavity. Reflecting this, the superior and also inferior palatal surface have various mucosal linings:

Superior aspect of palate (nasal cavity) – respiratory tract epithelium.
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Fig 1 – The palate the end the nasal cavity from the oral cavity

Hard Palate

The difficult palate develops the anterior aspect of the palate.

The basic bony framework is created of (i) palatine processes of the maxilla; and (ii) horizontal key of the palatine bones.

There are three key foramina/canals in the difficult palate:

Incisive canal – located in the anterior midline, transmits the nasopalatine nerve.Greater palatine foramen – situated medial come the third molar tooth, transmits the greater palatine nerve and vesselsLesser palatine foramina – situated in the pyramidal process of the palatine bone, transmits the lesser palatine nerve.
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Fig 2 – The tough palate is developed by the contributions from the maxilla and also palatine bones.

Soft Palate

The soft palate is located posteriorly. That is mobile, and also comprised that muscle fibres extended by a mucous membrane.

Anteriorly, that is constant with the difficult palate and with the palatine aponeurosis. The posterior border that the soft palate is complimentary (i.e. Not connected to any structure), and also has a main process that hangs from the midline – the uvula.

The soft palate additionally forms the roof that the fauces; an area connecting the dental cavity and the pharynx. Two arcs bind the palate to the tongue and also pharynx; the palatoglossal arches anteriorly and the palatopharyngeal arches posteriorly. In between these two arches lie the palatine tonsils, which reside in the tonsillar fossae the the oropharynx.

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Fig 3 – ar of the palatine tonsil in the oropharynx

Muscles of the Soft Palate

There are five muscles which provide the actions of the soft palate.

They are all innervated by the pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve (CN X) – except Tensor veli palatini – i m sorry is innervated by the medial pterygoid nerve (a branch of CN V3).

Tensor Veli Palatini

Attachments: Originates from the medial pterygoid bowl of the sphenoid and also inserts into the palatine aponeurosis.Function: time form the soft palate.

Levator Veli Palatini

Attachments: occurs from the petrous temporal bone and the eustachian tube, prior to inserting right into the palatine aponeurosis.Function: key of the soft palate.


Function: traction the soft palate in the direction of the tongue.


Attachments: occurs from the palatine aponeurosis and also the hard palate, and also inserts into the top border that the thyroid cartilage.Function: tenses soft palate and draws the pharynx anteriorly on swallowing.

Musculus Uvulae

Attachments: arises from the posterior sleep spine and the palatine aponeurosis, and inserts into the mucous membrane that the uvula.Function: Shortens the uvula.

Clinical Relevance: slit Lip and also Cleft Palate

A cleft refers to a gap/split in the top lip or palate. It results from a defect during development of face and palate:

Cleft lip – occurs when the medial nasal prominence and maxillary prestige fail to fuse.Cleft palate – can occur in isolation as soon as the palatal shelves fail come fuse in the midline, or in combination with slot lip.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are reasonably common, emerging in approximately 1/1000 births. In indigenous Americans, the price is approximately 4 time that.

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In enhancement to the cosmetic and psychosocial implications, major cleft lip/palate deserve to be a reason of death if a baby is can not to feed. Various other complications include recurrent ear epidemic and speech impediment.