Maxilla

Maxilla: Anatomy & FunctionKey facts about the anatomy of the maxilla, also known as the upper jaw
~ 3 min

Let us examine the maxilla. It is a paired bone of the facial skeleton.

Maxilla (maxilla)
Maxilla (maxilla)

It has the following parts:

  • body (corpus maxillae)

    Body (corpus maxillae)
    Body (corpus maxillae)
  • frontal process (processus frontalis)

Frontal process (processus frontalis)
Frontal process (processus frontalis)
  • zygomatic process (processus zygomaticus)

    Zygomatic process (processus zygomaticus)
    Zygomatic process (processus zygomaticus)
  • alveolar process (processus alveolaris)

    Alveolar process (processus alveolaris)
    Alveolar process (processus alveolaris)
  • palatine process (processus palatinus)

    Palatine process (processus palatinus)
    Palatine process (processus palatinus)

    The body of the maxilla has four surfaces:

  • anterior surface (facies anterior)

    Anterior surface (facies anterior)
    Anterior surface (facies anterior)
  • orbital surface (facies orbitalis)

    Orbital surface (facies orbitalis)
    Orbital surface (facies orbitalis)
  • infratemporal surface (facies infratemporalis)

    Infratemporal surface (facies infratemporalis)
    Infratemporal surface (facies infratemporalis)
  • nasal surface (facies nasalis)

Nasal surface (facies nasalis)
Nasal surface (facies nasalis)

The anterior surface is separated from the orbital surface by the infraorbital margin (margo infraorbitalis).

Infraorbital margin (margo infraorbitalis)
Infraorbital margin (margo infraorbitalis)

Underneath lies the infraorbital foramen (foramen infraorbitale), here passes the infraorbital nerve.

Infraorbital foramen (foramen infraorbitale)
Infraorbital foramen (foramen infraorbitale)

Under this foramen lies the canine fossa (fossa canina).

Canine fossa (fossa canina)
Canine fossa (fossa canina)

On the medial side, the anterior surface is bounded by the nasal notch (incisura nasalis).

Nasal notch (incisura nasalis)
Nasal notch (incisura nasalis)

The inferior border of the nasal notch protrudes slightly forward and is called the anterior nasal spine (spina nasalis anterior).

Anterior nasal spine (spina nasalis anterior)
Anterior nasal spine (spina nasalis anterior)

The orbital surface forms the floor of the orbit.

At the posterior border of this surface opens the infraorbital groove (sulcus infraorbitalis).

Infraorbital groove (sulcus infraorbitalis)
Infraorbital groove (sulcus infraorbitalis)

In the front, it passes into the infraorbital canal (canalis infraorbitalis)

, which opens on the anterior surface with the already mentioned infraorbital foramen.

Infraorbital canal (canalis infraorbitalis)
Infraorbital canal (canalis infraorbitalis)

The infratemporal surface is involved in the formation of the pterygopalatine fossa and the infratemporal fossa.

A rather large maxillary tuberosity (tuber maxillae) is located here.

Maxillary tuberosity (tuber maxillae)
Maxillary tuberosity (tuber maxillae)

It has several small alveolar foramina (foramina alveolaria), which continue into the alveolar canals (canales alveolares). Through these pass nerves and vessels to the teeth of the maxilla.

Alveolar foramina (foramina alveolaria)
Alveolar foramina (foramina alveolaria)

Medially runs the greater palatine groove (sulcus palatinus major), which is a component of the greater palatine canal.

Greater palatine groove (sulcus palatinus major)
Greater palatine groove (sulcus palatinus major)

The nasal surface is involved in the formation of the lateral wall of the nasal cavity.

This is where the maxillary hiatus (hiatus maxillaris) is to be found.

Maxillary hiatus (hiatus maxillaris)
Maxillary hiatus (hiatus maxillaris)

It leads to the maxillary sinus (sinus maxillaris), which is one of the pneumatized cavities of the cranium. This sinus has a connection to the middle nasal meatus.

Maxillary sinus (sinus maxillaris)
Maxillary sinus (sinus maxillaris)

In front of the maxillary hiatus is the lacrimal groove (sulcus lacrimalis). It is involved in the formation of the nasolacrimal duct. There is a lacrimal notch (incisura lacrimalis) at the entrance to this canal.

Lacrimal groove (sulcus lacrimalis)
Lacrimal groove (sulcus lacrimalis)
Lacrimal notch (incisura lacrimalis)
Lacrimal notch (incisura lacrimalis)

Ahead of the lacrimal groove is the conchal crest (crista conchalis), to which the inferior nasal concha is connected.

Conchal crest (crista conchalis)
Conchal crest (crista conchalis)

On the lateral surface of the frontal process, there is the anterior lacrimal crest (crista lacrimalis anterior).

Anterior lacrimal crest (crista lacrimalis anterior)
Anterior lacrimal crest (crista lacrimalis anterior)

And on the medial surface of this process is the ethmoidal crest (crista ethmoidalis), which is connected to the ethmoidal bone.

Ethmoidal crest (crista ethmoidalis)
Ethmoidal crest (crista ethmoidalis)

The inferior part of the alveolar process is called the alveolar arch (arcus alveolaris).

Alveolar arch (arcus alveolaris)
Alveolar arch (arcus alveolaris)

It has dental alveoli (alveoli dentales) where the teeth are located.

Dental alveoli (alveoli dentales)
Dental alveoli (alveoli dentales)

The alveoli are separated by interalveolar septa (septa interalveolaria).

Interalveolar septa (septa interalveolaria)
Interalveolar septa (septa interalveolaria)

Furthermore, on the external surface of the alveolar process are alveolar yokes (juga alveolaria).

Alveolar yokes (juga alveolaria)
Alveolar yokes (juga alveolaria)

In the incisor tooth, the canine eminence (eminentia canina) is pronounced.

The palatine process is involved in the formation of the hard palate and the floor of the nasal cavity.

There is a nasal crest (crista nasalis) on the medial border of the process.

Nasal crest (crista nasalis)
Nasal crest (crista nasalis)

The two palatine processes are fused together to form the median palatine suture (sutura palatina mediana).

Median palatine suture (sutura palatina mediana)
Median palatine suture (sutura palatina mediana)

The anterior part of this suture has an incisive foramen (foramen incisivum) leading to the incisive canal (canalis incisivus), where the nasopalatine nerve passes.

Incisive foramen (foramen incisivum)
Incisive foramen (foramen incisivum)

The inferior surface of the palatine process is rough and contains palatine grooves (sulci palatini), where vessels and nerves pass.

Palatine grooves (sulci palatini)
Palatine grooves (sulci palatini)

Along these grooves run the palatine spines (spinae palatinae).

Palatine spines (spinae palatinae)
Palatine spines (spinae palatinae)
Dictionary

Maxilla

maxilla
maxilla
body of maxilla
corpus maxillae
frontal process
processus frontalis
zygomatic process
processus zygomaticus
alveolar process
processus alveolaris
palatine process
processus palatinus
anterior surface
facies anterior
orbital surface
facies orbitalis
infratemporal surface
facies infratemporalis
nasal surface
facies nasalis
infraorbital margin
margo infraorbitalis
infraorbital foramen
foramen infraorbitale
canine fossa
fossa canina
nasal notch
incisura nasalis
anterior nasal spine
spina nasalis anterior
infraorbital groove
sulcus infraorbitalis
infraorbital canal
canalis infraorbitalis
maxillary tuberosity
tuber maxillae
alveolar foramina
foramina alveolaria
alveolar canals
canales alveolares
greater palatine groove
sulcus palatinus major
maxillary hiatus
hiatus maxillaris
maxillary sinus
sinus maxillaris
lacrimal groove
sulcus lacrimalis
lacrimal notch
incisura lacrimalis
conchal crest
crista conchalis
anterior lacrimal crest
crista lacrimalis anterior
ethmoidal crest
crista ethmoidalis
alveolar arch
arcus alveolaris
dental alveoli
alveoli dentales
interalveolar septa
septa interalveolaria
alveolar yokes
juga alveolaria
canine eminence
eminentia canina
nasal crest
crista nasalis
median palatine suture
sutura palatina mediana
incisive foramen
foramen incisivum
incisive canal
canalis incisivus
palatine grooves
sulci palatini
palatine spines
spinae palatinae
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