We conducted a retrospective study to determine the incidence and treatment outcomes of neck metastases in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the hard palate and/or maxillary alveolus after surgical excision of the primary tumor. We also sought to identify any risk factors for recurrence. Our study population was made up of 20 patients-9 men and 11 women, aged 46 to 88 years (mean: 72.6)-who had undergone excision of an SCC of the hard palate and/or maxillary alveolus at a tertiary care cancer center over a 7-year period. Half of all patients were former tobacco users. Of the 20 tumors, 10 involved the maxillary alveolus, 4 involved the hard palate, and 6 involved both sites. Three patients were clinically categorized as T1, 9 as T2, 6 as T3, and 2 as T4; pathologically, 8 tumors were categorized as T4a. In addition to maxillectomy, a neck dissection was performed in 7 patients-4 therapeutically and 3 electively. Eight of 20 patients experienced a recurrence: 4 local, 6 regional, and 2 distant (several patients had a recurrence at more than one site). Univariate analysis identified perineural invasion (p = 0.04) as a statistically significant risk factor for recurrence. Of 14 patients with a clinicopathologically negative neck, 5 (36%) developed a cervical recurrence, and 4 of them died of their disease. An advanced stage (T4 vs. <T4) was not significantly correlated with the risk of regional metastasis (p = 0.58). The rate of occult nodal metastasis in clinically and radiologically N0 necks was high. Clinical and radiologic understaging was common, and regional recurrences frequently resulted in death. We conclude that elective nodal evaluation and treatment of the neck warrants strong consideration for most patients with cancer of the hard palate and/or maxillary alveolus.