Prognathism: Types, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments


Prognathism is a jaw abnormality. It is also known as the extended chin or Habsburg jaw. Your jaw seems to be misaligned or protruding if you have a prognathic jaw. A prognathic face may appear angry all the time due to jaw deformity. Parents can identify this condition in their kids at an early age.

The purpose of this article is to explain the following in detail:-

  • Types of prognathism
  • Prognathism causes
  • Prognathism treatment
  • When to visit an orthodontist & what to expect in the visit

Types of Prognathism

There are 3 types of prognathism. They are as follows:-

  1. Mandibular Prognathism
  2. Maxillary Prognathism
  3. Bimaxillary Prognathism

Maxillary Prognathism vs. Mandibular Prognathism

Although all 3 types of prognathism ultimately leave you with a prognathic face, they affect different parts of your jaw. However, people often get confused between maxillary prognathism and mandibular prognathism. Maxillary prognathism makes your upper jaw extend out of the face. Whereas mandibular prognathism gives you a prognathic lower jaw. That means your lower or bottom jaw sticks out of the face.

On the other hand, the bimaxillary prognathism makes the upper and lower jaw protrude further than the face.

Causes of Prognathism & Their Treatment

The treatment of prognathism depends mainly on its origin. Following are the 5 causes of prognathism and the suitable treatment for them:-

  • Acromegaly
    Acronomegaly lead to mandibular prognathism. That means you get a prognathic lower jaw. It is a kind of tumor that makes your body generate excessive growth hormones. As a result, the tissues of your jaw get enlarged.
    Prognathism caused due to acromegaly is typically treated with medicines. These medicines are supposed to stop the growth of the tumor. If medications are ineffective, the orthodontist can shrink it through radiation or perform corrective jaw surgery to remove it.
  • Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome
    It is a rare hereditary syndrome, affecting 1 in 31000 people. Basal cell nevus syndrome doesn’t only causes prognathism. It can be responsible for other facial growth abnormalities like far-apart eyes, the unusual shape of eyebrows, and a broad nose.
    The doctor will diagnose the abnormality in your facial structure due to basal cell nevus syndrome before suggesting appropriate treatment. But if you develop skin cancer, surgery is your only treatment option.
  • Acrodysostosis
    Acrodysostosis is an extremely rare congenital bone condition that hampers bone growth. If you suffer from this condition, you might have short body parts like short arms, short legs, and a short upper jaw.
    This condition can be treated with nutrition supplements up to some extent. Otherwise, surgery could be done.
  • Genetic Disorders
    Excessive jaw growth is possible because of genetic disorders like Crouzon and Down syndrome. The Crouzon syndrome causes a premature fusion of your skull bones. And in Down syndrome, your body makes an extra chromosome that disrupts your body’s formation. Both these conditions are breeding grounds for prognathism.
    Genetic disorders are usually detected in childhood only. Therefore the prognathism treatment can also start early in this case. But usually, genetic disorders are only treated with speech therapy and support group counseling.
  • Misaligned Teeth
    It’s a vice versa scenario. Misaligned teeth can change the shape of the jaw, and a prognathic jaw can cause your teeth to grow abnormally. Therefore it is essential to treat the misaligned teeth of your kids from the moment you spot them. There are various orthodontic treatments to cure misaligned teeth, such as braces, retainers, removal of overcrowding teeth, and surgery to reshape your jaw.

Time to Visit Orthodontist

You should take yourself or your kid to the orthodontist when you notice these systems:-

  • Visible abnormality in the shape of the upper or lower jaw.
  • Difficulty in breathing, talking, eating, and chewing.
  • Misalignment of teeth: An overbite or an underbite.
  • Any underlying health issue mentioned as the potential prognathism causes earlier in this article.

What to Expect in Your Visit to the Orthodontist

When you visit your orthodontist or healthcare provider for the analysis of your prognathic jaw, they will take the following steps to help you:-

  • Perform a physical exam.
  • Enquire about your medical history such as:
    • Any family history of prognathism.
    • Visibility of misalignment in the jaw.
    • Difficulty in talking or eating.
    • Any other relevant symptoms.

Afterward, your healthcare provider will do any of the following diagnostic tests if needed:-

  • Dental x-ray
  • Skull x-ray
  • Bite Imprints, taken with the help of plaster mold

Wrapping up

Depending on your condition, you can get partial or complete relief from the complications of the prognathic jaw. However, the treatment of prognathism takes time and patience. You may also need the help of an oral surgeon to realign your jaw.

Our team of expert orthodontists and dental surgeons has the experience of successfully treating various prognathism cases. Contact us now for a free consultation.

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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