AskDefine | Define maxilla

Dictionary Definition

maxilla n : the upper jawbone in vertebrates; it is fused to the cranium [syn: upper jaw, upper jawbone] [also: maxillae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Either of the two bones that together form the upper jaw.


Extensive Definition

This article is about the mammal maxilla. For arthropod maxillae, see Mouthparts; for insect maxillae in particular, see Insect mouthparts.
The maxilla (plural: maxillae) is a fusion of two bones along the palatal fissure that form the upper jaw. This is similar to the mandible, which is also a fusion of two halves at the mental symphysis.


The alveolar process of the maxilla holds the upper teeth, and is referred to as the maxillary arch. The maxilla attaches laterally to the zygomatic bones (cheek bones).
The maxilla assists in forming the boundaries of three cavities:
The maxilla also enters into the formation of two fossae: the infratemporal and pterygopalatine, and two fissures, the inferior orbital and pterygomaxillary.


Each half of the fused maxilla consists of:


The maxilla articulates with nine bones:
Sometimes it articulates with the orbital surface, and sometimes with the lateral pterygoid plate of the sphenoid.

Additional images

Image:Orbital_bones.png|The seven bones which articulate to form the orbit. Image:Illu facial bones.jpg|Facial bones.


External links

maxilla in Arabic: فك علوي
maxilla in Bosnian: Gornja vilica
maxilla in German: Maxilla
maxilla in Spanish: Maxilar
maxilla in French: Os maxillaire
maxilla in Italian: Osso mascellare
maxilla in Kurdish: Jorkajû
maxilla in Latin: Maxilla
maxilla in Latvian: Augšžokļa kauls
maxilla in Lithuanian: Viršutinis žandikaulis
maxilla in Dutch: Maxilla (anatomie)
maxilla in Japanese: 上顎骨
maxilla in Polish: Szczęka
maxilla in Portuguese: Maxilar
maxilla in Slovenian: Zgornja čeljustnica
maxilla in Serbian: Горња вилица
maxilla in Finnish: Yläleuka
maxilla in Swedish: Överkäke
maxilla in Turkish: Os maksilla
maxilla in Ukrainian: Верхньощелепна кістка
maxilla in Chinese: 上颌骨
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