Orthodontic Problems and Solutions: Micrognathia and Macrognathia

It is important for patients to know what kind of orthodontic problems they may have, as this is the only way to make sure that they can make informed choices about their dental treatment.   Depending on what kind of orthodontic problem you have, your treatment can last from six months to three years, and the costs that are incurred vary greatly. This is why these series of articles wish to articulate what kind of orthodontic problems exist, what their solutions are, and what kind of costs and treatment times can be expected. As each case varies greatly, the final say will be made by your orthodontist, but these articles should give the patient a general idea of what to expect.

Today we will be examining the problem of Micro and Macrognathia.


What is micrognathia? What is macrognathia?

Any latin word that has the word “gnathia” in it refers to a problem of the jaw. Micrognathia and macrognathia are both genetically inherited conditions in which etiological (lifestyle or environmentally caused) condition do not play a factor. This is a condition in which the jaw is too small (micrognathia) or too large (macrognathia). Micrognathia is also sometimes referred to as “strawberry face” because the lower jaw tends to be underdeveloped and has a characteristic look, something resembling a strawberry. It is very frequently a part of a number of symptoms in severely disabled people, but can be a standalone malformation in an otherwise completely healthy person as well. It is a problem because it leaves the upper teeth exposed, leading to more frequent tooth decay. Micrognathia patients always experience crowding on the lower jaw, as the teeth simply do not have enough space to grow, and the wisdom teeth will cause abnormal positioning. Macrognathia on the other hand frequently does not cause problems with the teeth, but harms the TMJ and looks unpleasant.

How to cure micrognathia and macrognathia

Although responsible for many orthodontic problems, these conditions of the jaw bone are not orthodontic problems and cannot be cured with orthodontics. In these cases orthognathic surgery, or surgery of the jaw, is needed to repair the problem. In many cases the teeth can be aligned properly after or during the surgery.     

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