Incisive foramen

Incisive foramen
The bony palate and alveolar arch.
Part ofhard palate
Latinforamen incisivum
FMA57737 75305, 57737
Anatomical terms of bone

In the human mouth, the incisive foramen (also known as: "anterior palatine foramen", or "nasopalatine foramen") is the opening of the incisive canals on the hard palate immediately behind the incisor teeth. It gives passage to blood vessels and nerves. The incisive foramen is situated within the incisive fossa of the maxilla.

The incisive foramen is used as an anatomical landmark for defining the severity of cleft lip and cleft palate.

The incisive foramen exists in a variety of species.


The incisive foramen is a funnel-shaped opening in the bone of the oral hard palate representing the inferior termination of the incisive canal.[citation needed] An oral prominence - the incisive papilla - overlies the incisive fossa.

The incisive foramen is situated immediately behind the incisor teeth, and in between the two premaxillae.[citation needed]


The incisive foramen allows for blood vessels and nerves to pass. These include:

Clinical significance

As many nerves exit the incisive canal at the incisive foramen, it may be used for injection of local anaesthetic.

When plain radiographs are taken of the mouth, the incisive foramen may be mistaken for a periapical lesion.

The incisive foramen can be used as a landmark when describing cleft lip and cleft palate, which can either extend in front of (primary) or behind (secondary) the foramen. It is also important as a surgical landmark to avoid damaging its nerves and vascular structures.


The incisive foramen is also known as the anterior palatine foramen, the nasopalatine foramen, and the incisive fossa.

Other animals

In many other species, the incisive foramina allow for passage of ducts to the vomeronasal organ. It can be found in cats, and alligators.

Additional images

This page was last updated at 2024-04-17 00:44 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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