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This article is about the human maxilla. For arthropod maxillae, see Mouthparts; for insect maxillae in particular, see Insect mouthparts.
Bone: Maxilla
Gray189.png
Side view. Maxilla visible at bottom left, in green.
Gray190.png
Front view. Maxilla visible at center, in yellow.
Gray's subject #38 157
Precursor 1st branchial arch[1]
MeSH Maxilla
Dorlands
/ Elsevier
    
Maxilla

The maxilla (plural: maxillae), also known as the mustache bone, is a fusion of two bones along the palatal fissure that form the upper jaw. This is similar to the mandible (lower jaw), which is also a fusion of two halves at the mental symphysis. Sometimes (e.g. in bony fish), the maxilla is sometimes called "upper maxilla", with the mandible being the "lower maxilla". Conversely, in birds the upper jaw is often called "upper mandible".

Contents

Function

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.

Components

Each half of the fused maxilla consists of:

Articulations

The maxilla articulates with nine bones:

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

In other animals

In most vertebrates, the foremost part of the upper jaw, to which the incisors are attached in mammals consists of a separate pair of bones, the premaxillae. These fuse with the maxilla proper to form the bone found in humans, and some other mammals. In bony fish, amphibians, and reptiles, both maxilla and premaxilla are relatively plate-like bones, forming only the sides of the upper jaw, and part of the face, with the premaxilla also forming the lower boundary of the nostrils. However, in mammals, the bones have curved inward, creating the palatine process and thereby also forming part of the roof of the mouth.[2]

Birds do not have a maxilla in the strict sense; the corresponding part of their beaks (mainly consisting of the premaxilla) is called "upper mandible".

Cartilagenous fish, such as sharks also lack a true maxilla. Their upper jaw is instead formed from a cartilagenous bar that is not homologous with the bone found in other vertebrates.[2]

Additional images

See also

References

  1. ^ hednk-023Embryology at UNC
  2. ^ a b Romer, Alfred Sherwood; Parsons, Thomas S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. pp. 217–243. ISBN 0-03-910284-X. 

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.

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