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Maxilla Bone Anatomy

The two maxilla or maxillary bones (maxillae, plural) form the upper jaw (L., mala, jaw).

Anterior, coronal, lateral and inferior view of the skull
Anterior, coronal, lateral and inferior view of the skull highlighting the maxilla bone.

Each maxilla has four processes (frontal, zygomatic, alveolar, and palatine) and helps form the orbit, roof of the mouth, and the lateral walls of the nasal cavity.

Body – central portion of maxilla. [Anterior view/ Lateral view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of view of the skull showing the body of the maxilla
Anterior view of view of the skull showing the body of the maxilla
Lateral view of view of the skull showing the body of the maxilla
Lateral view of view of the skull showing the body of the maxilla

Orbital surface (process) – posterior extension from body that forms much of orbit floor. [Anterior view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the orbital surface
Anterior view of the skull showing the orbital surface

Frontal process – upward extension from body that projects toward frontal bone. [Anterior view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the frontal process
Anterior view of the skull showing the frontal process

Zygomatic process – lateral extension from body that projects toward zygomatic bone. [Anterior view/ Lateral view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the zygomatic process
Anterior view of the skull showing the zygomatic process
Lateral view of the skull showing the zygomatic process
Lateral view of the skull showing the zygomatic process

Infraorbital foramen – prominent hole located inferior to orbit; passageway for infraorbital nerve and blood vessels. [Anterior view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the infraorbital foramen
Anterior view of the skull showing the infraorbital foramen

Inferior orbital fissure – slit-like opening that runs along floor of orbit between maxilla and sphenoid bones; passageway for maxillary nerve and infraorbital vessels. [Anterior view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the iinferior orbital fissure
Anterior view of the skull showing the iinferior orbital fissure

Anterior nasal spine – small anterior projection from floor of nasal cavity. [Anterior view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the anterior nasal spine
Anterior view of the skull showing the anterior nasal spine

Alveolar process (margin, ridge, bor-der) – inferior extension that contains sockets (alveoli) for teeth. [Anterior view/ Lateral view]

Anterior view of the skull
Anterior view of the skull showing the alveolar process
Anterior view of the skull showing the alveolar process

Maxillary sinuses – two large, pyramidal-shape cavities located in the body of the maxilla bone. Each is lined by mucous membrane, and the mucous secretions drain into the mid-lateral wall of the nasal cavity through a small opening called an ostium. [Coronal view]

Coronal view of the skull
Coronal view of the skull showing the maxillary sinus
Coronal view of the skull showing the maxillary sinus

Palatine process – horizontal plate that forms anterior a portion of the hard palate (= nasal cavity floor / roof of mouth. [Inferior view]

Inferior view of the skull
Inferior view of the skull showing the pallatine process

Incisive fossa – depression along the junction of the two maxillae bones, just posterior to the incisors.  It is the opening for the small incisive canals (or foramina) that carry the nasopalatine nerves and branches of greater palatine arteries into the nasal cavity. [Inferior view]

Inferior view of the skull
Inferior view of the skull showing the incisive fossa
Inferior view of the skull showing the incisive fossa

Test yourself:

Anterior view: [Show/Hide answers]

alterior view of the skull indicating maxilla parts

Inferior view: [Show/Hide answers]

inferior view of the skull indicating maxilla parts

Coronal view: [Show/Hide answers]

coronal view of the skull indicating maxilla part
coronal view of the skull indicating maxilla part

Lateral view: [Show/Hide answers]

lateral view of the skull indicating maxilla parts