Prognathism is a condition affecting the structural abnormality of a person’s face due to a significant protrusion of either of the jaws. It ideally leads to the teeth of either the upper jaw or the lower jaw to cover the other set of teeth which adversely hinders breathing, appearance, speaking, biting and chewing. Prognathism especially makes children prone to long-term difficulties with speech. For instance, it may cause a noticeable lisp or an inability to pronounce certain words correctly. The condition also hinders the growth of permanent teeth and influences them to grow at an unhealthy angle.

There are three principal types of prognathism commonly occurring:
  • Mandibular prognathism or overbite signifies lower jaw protrusion
  • Maxillary prognathism or underbite denotes upper jaw protrusion
  • Bimaxillary prognathism causes both upper and lower jaw to protrude

Orthodontic intervention becomes essential to reverse the damage done by these distinct types of prognathism. Orthodontic treatments offer an ideal solution to a variety of misalignment problems and can help overcome lasting problems caused by them.

Causes of Prognathism

One of the reasons for the occurrence of prognathism is a genetically inherited abnormally protruding jaw. The other probable reason could be an underlying medical condition directly affecting jaw health, such as:
  • Acromegaly, excessive production of growth hormone in a patient’s body leading to enlarged tissues of their lower jaw
  • Basal cell nevus syndrome, an inherited characteristic or Crouzon syndrome which is marked by premature fusion of skull bones, giving rise to the abnormal and unhealthy jaws
  • Acrodysostosis affects bone growth, and people suffering from this condition tend to have smaller bones all over their body, making other bones disproportionate.

When to see your doctor?

You don’t have to worry about any of the prognathism, be it mandibular, maxillary or bimaxillary if your extended jaw naturally fits the shape of your face since birth and isn’t influencing other problems in your bite or speech.

In case your prognathic jaw starts to attract any extreme dental problems for you and causes unbearable pain, consult your general dentist, orthodontist or an oral surgeon at the earliest. They will be able to guide you towards an appropriate treatment option which suits your needs.

How can it be treated?

In order to effectively treat malocclusion or misaligned jaws due to prognathism, dental experts generally recommend a combination of maxillofacial surgery and orthodontic treatment. While the surgical procedures include Sagittal Split Ramus Osteotomy and Intraoral Vertical Ramus Osteotomy, a conventional orthodontic treatment like braces could also prove to be useful. Distal Osteotomy is another surgical method, often chosen due to its additional long-term positional stability.

During the procedure, to avoid any surface incisions or scars, your surgeon will make interior cuts on your gums for a better excess to the jaw. They will cut and shift the bone as required and then, instead of wiring, your jaws will be held together with small plates and screws guiding to permanent relocation of the jawbones and bite correction. If your case needs a combination procedure for correction, your surgeon or orthodontist might suggest you wear braces before and after the surgery to achieve more regular teeth alignment.

Are you experiencing any of the symptoms of misaligned jaws? Consult your healthcare provider soon. With this article, we aimed at providing you with a brief understanding of prognathism and its various aspects. If not treated promptly, this harmful condition leading to protrusion of either upper, lower or both of your jaws could lead to a variety of oral health problems lasting a lifetime. To gain a proper realignment, you might have to undergo corrective surgery along with orthodontic treatment.