The hard palate
is a thin horizontal bony
plate of the skull
, located in the roof of the mouth. It spans the arch formed by the upper teeth
It is formed by the palatine process of the maxilla and horizontal plate of palatine bone.
It forms a partition between the nasal passages and the mouth. This partition is continued deeper into the mouth by a fleshy extension called the soft palate.
The interaction between the tongue
and the hard palate is essential in the formation of certain speech
sounds, notably /t/, /d/, /c/, and /ɟ/.
In the birth defect
called cleft palate
, the left and right portions of this plate are not joined, forming a gap between the mouth and nasal passage (a related defect affecting the face is cleft lip
Cleft palate has a severe impact upon the ability to nurse and speak but is now cured through reconstructive surgical procedures at an early age (where such procedures are available).