b. Nasal Process. This gives shape to the nose by forming part of the lateral
wall. The nasal process forms a union with the nasal bone. The right and left nasal
bones, with the nasal process of the right and left maxillary bones, form the anterior and
side walls of the nasal cavity.
c. Zygomatic or Malar Process. This is a projection of the maxillary bones
which joins the projections of the zygomatic bones. The zygomatic process is
commonly referred to as the cheekbone, forming the eminence of the cheek under the
d. Maxillary Alveolar Process. The maxillary alveolar process is an extension
of the lower surface of the body of the maxilla. It forms a horizontal horse-shoe shaped
ridge with the opening of the horseshoe toward the throat. This part of the maxilla is
thick and composed of a spongy or porous type of bone.
(1) The tooth sockets. The function of the alveolar process is to hold and
support the maxillary teeth. Teeth are embedded within the bone of the alveolar
process in deep depressions or bony sockets called alveoli. Each alveolus conforms
closely to the shape of the root of the tooth it contains. Roots are supported within the
alveoli by connective tissue called the periodontal membrane or the periodontal
ligament (see figure 2-5). When teeth are lost, the alveolus gradually disappears. This
happens partly through a filling in of their deeper parts and partly through resorption
(loss) of the bone and a simultaneous shrinkage of their soft parts. This is an important
consideration when these teeth are replaced with dentures.
Figure 2-5. Periodontal ligament.