A dentofacial deformity is an imbalance of the position, size, shape, or orientation of the bones that comprise the upper and lower jaws. Symptoms of these deformities may include the inability to chew properly, impaired breathing (which may lead to sleep dysfunction), speech impediments, and psychosocial challenges. The causes of dentofacial abnormalities are widely varied and not always completely known.
Some dentofacial deformities may include:
- Inherited defects such as mandibular prognathism where the lower jaw outgrows the upper, resulting in an extended chin.
- Genetic conditions like Apert or Crouzon syndrome.
- Non-genetic congenital deformities like cleft lip and palate or craniofacial microsomia.
- Habits like finger sucking and mouth breathing can contribute to deformities.
- Trauma to the facial skeleton.
Some of the more severe deformities can be identified at birth or at a very young age. Others do not become apparent until late childhood or early adolescence. These deformities are diagnosed through a combination of specific x-rays, photographs, dental models and thorough clinical exams. Every patient’s specific treatment is individualized.