The maxilla forms the upper jaw by fusing together two irregularly-shaped bones along the palatal fissure. The maxillary bones on each side join in the middle at the intermaxillary suture and help to support the posterior teeth. The bones help to form the upper jaw, parts of the eye sockets, and the lower parts and sides of the nasal cavity. Additionally, they are positioned to reduce the heaviness of the skull, and help to allow the voice to resound. Each half of the fused bones contains four processes. These include the zygomatic, frontal, palatine, and alveolar processes of the maxilla. They also contain the infraorbital foramen and the maxillary sinus, which helps to aid the face structure during an accidental trauma. A severe blow to the face can fracture the maxilla, causing the displacement of teeth, loss of feeling in the lips or cheeks, and a retraction of the eyeball. Surgery is required to repair the break, as well as reset the bone and surrounding bones.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Maxilla