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(păl`ĭt), roof of the mouth. The front part, known as the hard palate, formed by the upper maxillary bones and the palatine bones, separates the mouth from the nasal cavity. It is composed of a bone plate covered with a layer of mucous membrane tissue. The back portion, or soft palate, consists of muscular tissue and mucous membrane forming a partial partition between the mouth and the throat. A small conelike projection, the uvula, hangs from the middle of the soft palate in humans. The soft palate and uvula move upward during swallowing or sucking, preventing food from entering the nasopharynx. In mammals other than humans, the soft palate overlaps the larynx during swallowing so as to prevent entry of foreign substances into the respiratory tract. Both the hard and soft portions of the palate are lined with mucous membrane containing numerous glands that lubricate the mouth and throat. If the sides of the bony palate fail to come together during embryonic development an opening, or cleft, remains along the midline. This condition, known as cleft palate, can be repaired surgically in early infancy. See digestive systemdigestive system,
in the animal kingdom, a group of organs functioning in digestion and assimilation of food and elimination of wastes. Virtually all animals have a digestive system. In the vertebrates (phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata) the digestive system is very complex.
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the roof of the oral cavity in vertebrate animals and man.

In petromyzons, Myxine, and cartilaginous fish, the palate is formed from the base of the chondrocranium; in bony fish and terrestrial vertebrates with secondary jaws, it is formed from the bones that originate in the base of the skull and at the site of the palatoquadrate cartilage. In some fish (Dipnoi and Crossop-terygii) and terrestrial vertebrates, the anterior section of the palate has primary choanae, or internal nares. In a number of reptiles (Testudinata, crocodiles, and Pelycosauria) and in mammals, there is a secondary hard palate, formed from the membrane bones; it divides the oral cavity from the nasopharyngeal passages, which open into the pharynx through the secondary choanae. The secondary palate in reptiles and mammals prevents the entry of food into the air passages and the disruption of breathing; in crocodiles it facilitates normal respiration when food is captured in the water. The appearance of a secondary bony palate in mammals strengthened the posterior sections of the upper jaw, which was one of the conditions for the development of true molars. The hard palate in mammals gradually develops into the muscular membrane known as the soft palate, which delineates the fauces—the opening into the pharynx—superiorly and laterally.

In man the palate is a solid membrane that divides the oral and nasal cavities. It consists of the bony palate (part of the skeleton of the facial cranium), which is covered with a mucous membrane on each side of the cavities. The bony palate is formed from the palatine processes of the left and right maxillae and the horizontal membranes of the palatine bones, which are united by the sagittal and transverse sutures. The superior surface of the hard palate is almost flat—it serves as the floor of the nasal cavity; the inferior surface of the hard palate faces the oral cavity and has a concave, domelike shape. The soft palate, which consists of mucous membrane with submucosal tissue and a muscular layer with fatty tissue, is a continuation posteriorly of the hard palate. The mucous membrane on the side of the oral cavity is lined with multilayered epithelium, and on the side of the nasal cavity with ciliated epithelium. The hard and soft palates together constitute the superior wall of the oral cavity.

When there is disturbance of embryo formation, defects in the development of the palate may arise, including cleft palate.


Kudrin, I. S. Anatomiia organov polosti rta. Moscow, 1968.


The roof of the mouth.


1. the roof of the mouth, separating the oral and nasal cavities
2. Botany (in some two-lipped corollas) the projecting part of the lower lip that closes the opening of the corolla
References in periodicals archive ?
All cleft palates repaired in the present study were done under general anaesthesia.
The endoscopic examination of posterior end of oral cavity, pharynx and larynx revealed presence of elongated soft palate and everted laryngeal saccules.
Role of free-tissue transfer in the treatment of recalcitrant palatal fistulae among patients with cleft palates.
Abu Dhabi: With their first surgery for cleft lip correction scheduled to be performed this month, Operation Smile UAE, which has helped provide free surgeries to over 3,000 children around the world born with a cleft lip and palate, is bringing a smile to a child's face, one surgery at a time.
ISLAMABAD -- Plastic surgeon, Dr Aman Ullah Raja, has performed surgeries on 30 cleft lip and palate children at a weeklong medical camp here.
Prevalence of Cleft Uvulae among 2732 Danish Cleft Palates.
Other topics include hearing problems in infants and children with cleft palates; feeding issues related to cleft palate in infants; typical medical and dental treatments; the role of the speech-language pathologist within the multidisciplinary model approach and the importance of other team members including physicians, dentists, nurses, psychologists, social workers and family members in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to cleft palates; and detailed methods of improving speech and language functions in cleft patients.
Although only 71% of cleft palates were identified at birth in 2011, this is 4% higher than in 2010 when one third of babies with a cleft palate had their condition missed.
As identified by the SIG audit, a significant number of cleft palates are still missed at this examination, and it then falls to community staff to be observant for signs of cleft palate.
During the study, fetal mice were strategically bred to have a defect in the Msx1 gene resulting in lack of expression of the Shh protein and the formation of cleft palates.
But because the fetuses were exposed to the alkaloid for a brief specific time, they only developed cleft palates.
The trips, organised by the UK charity the Northern Cleft Foundation, brings together specialist British doctors to repair the cleft lips and palates of babies, children and adults and to help train local doctors who they work alongside in operating theatres.