Side view. Maxilla visible at bottom left, in green.
Front view. Maxilla visible at center, in green.
Precursor1st branchial arch[1]
Anatomical terms of bone

The maxilla (plural: maxillae /)[2] in animals is the upper fixed bone of the jaw formed from the fusion of two maxillary bones. The upper jaw includes the hard palate in the front of the mouth.[3][4] The two maxillary bones are fused at the intermaxillary suture, forming the anterior nasal spine. This is similar to the mandible (lower jaw), which is also a fusion of two mandibular bones at the mandibular symphysis. The mandible is the movable part of the jaw.


Interior surface of maxilla

In humans, the maxilla consists of:


Each maxilla articulates with nine bones:

Sometimes it articulates with the orbital surface, and sometimes with the lateral pterygoid plate of the sphenoid.


Figure 5: Anterior surface of maxilla at birth.
Figure 6: Inferior surface of maxilla at birth.

The maxilla is ossified in membrane. Mall and Fawcett maintain that it is ossified from two centers only, one for the maxilla proper and one for the premaxilla.[5][6]

These centers appear during the sixth week of prenatal development and unite in the beginning of the third month, but the suture between the two portions persists on the palate until nearly middle life. Mall states that the frontal process is developed from both centers.

The maxillary sinus appears as a shallow groove on the nasal surface of the bone about the fourth month of development, but does not reach its full size until after the second dentition.

The maxilla was formerly described as ossifying from six centers, viz.,

  • one, the orbitonasal, forms that portion of the body of the bone which lies medial to the infraorbital canal, including the medial part of the floor of the orbit and the lateral wall of the nasal cavity;
  • a second, the zygomatic, gives origin to the portion which lies lateral to the infraorbital canal, including the zygomatic process;
  • from a third, the palatine, is developed the palatine process posterior to the incisive canal together with the adjoining part of the nasal wall;
  • a fourth, the premaxillary, forms the incisive bone which carries the incisor teeth and corresponds to the premaxilla of the lower vertebrates;
  • a fifth, the nasal, gives rise to the frontal process and the portion above the canine tooth;
  • and a sixth, the infravomerine, lies between the palatine and premaxillary centers and beneath the vomer; this center, together with the corresponding center of the opposite bone, separates the incisive canals from each other.

Changes by age

At birth the transverse and antero-posterior diameters of the bone are each greater than the vertical.

The frontal process is well-marked and the body of the bone consists of little more than the alveolar process, the teeth sockets reaching almost to the floor of the orbit.

The maxillary sinus presents the appearance of a furrow on the lateral wall of the nose. In the adult the vertical diameter is the greatest, owing to the development of the alveolar process and the increase in size of the sinus.

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Oberkiefer
العربية: فك علوي
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܠܘܓܡܐ
azərbaycanca: Əng sümüyü
Bân-lâm-gú: Siōng-go̍k-kut
башҡортса: Өҫкө яңаҡ
български: Горна челюст
bosanski: Gornja vilica
brezhoneg: Karvan (askorn)
čeština: Horní čelist
Deutsch: Oberkiefer
español: Maxilar
Esperanto: Maksilo
euskara: Masailezur
فارسی: فک بالا
français: Os maxillaire
한국어: 위턱뼈
հայերեն: Վերին ծնոտ
hrvatski: Gornja čeljust
italiano: Osso mascellare
Latina: Maxilla
македонски: Горна вилица
Bahasa Melayu: Rahang atas
Nederlands: Bovenkaakbeen
नेपाल भाषा: म्याक्जिल्ला
日本語: 上顎骨
norsk nynorsk: Overkjeve
polski: Szczęka
português: Osso maxilar
română: Maxilă
Runa Simi: Simi hawa tullu
Scots: Maxilla
sicilianu: Gangularu
Simple English: Maxilla
slovenščina: Zgornja čeljustnica
српски / srpski: Горња вилица
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Gornja vilica
suomi: Yläleuka
svenska: Överkäke
తెలుగు: జంభిక
українська: Верхня щелепа
Tiếng Việt: Xương hàm trên
粵語: 上顎骨
中文: 上颌骨