Maxilla Bone Anatomy

Author: Scott A. Sheffield MS

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

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]

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

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

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

Easily learn the bones of the body with these spaced repetition-style interactive anatomy quizzes.

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

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

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

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]

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

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]

Test yourself:

Anterior view: [Show/Hide answers]

Inferior view: [Show/Hide answers]

Coronal view: [Show/Hide answers]

Lateral view: [Show/Hide answers]