Receding Chin


The term ‘mandibular micrognathia’ refers to a condition that is characterized by a receding lower jaw. In this condition, the lower jaw is smaller when compared to the upper jaw. Individuals affected by this condition have a chin that is retruded in nature, which means that the chin is less prominent than normal. This condition can certainly have an adverse effect on the facial symmetry. Due to this condition, the person’s facial profile appears to be almost flat. This condition can be a cause of cosmetic concern, and could cause a dent in one’s self-esteem. To add to that, a relatively small jaw could also give rise to dental problems associated with the placement or arrangement of the teeth (crowding due to insufficient space in the jaw). In case of a severe jaw deformity, the affected individual could experience problems while chewing food or even talking. In such cases, a corrective jaw surgery can be performed for making the chin appear prominent.

Contributing Factors

Congenital Defect
More often than not, a receding chin is a congenital defect, which means that it is present since birth. Sometimes, micrognathia may be a solitary defect that is observed in the child. Sometimes, it could be seen in individuals affected by syndromes such as:

➻ Pierre Robin syndrome
➻ Trisomy 13
➻ Trisomy 18
➻ Treacher Collins syndrome
➻ Marfan syndrome
➻ Cri-du-Chat syndrome
➻ Stickler syndrome
➻ Jacobsen syndrome

Sometimes, the mandible may be small in size due to a congenital defect where it did not grow sufficiently, as is seen in mandibular hypoplasia. Trauma during the growing years, especially to the centers of bone growth, can also lead to restricted growth of the mandible, which may result in a chin that is not prominent in nature.

Actively Receding Chin
The cases where the person starts showing signs of chin recession after adolescence are quite rare. This may be due to the following factors.

➻ Chronic temporomandibular joint disorders which cause regression of the lower jaw
➻ Arthritic conditions that have afflicted the lower jaw, or the temporomandibular joint
➻ Hemimandibulectomy or the removal of a part of the mandible due to the presence of a cancerous growth

At times, there may be certain dental problems that might be responsible for a retruded chin.

Correction of a Retruded Chin

The treatment will entirely depend on the underlying factor that is causing the chin to retrude. If the cause is a disease, then taking medications for stopping the progression of the disease may prove beneficial. However, surgery is the only option in case the receding mandible and chin is a congenital defect. There are two main surgeries:

➻ Mandibular advancement surgery using distraction
➻ Bilateral sagital split osteotomy

In mandibular distraction, bone growth is stimulated with the application of external forces over the corticotomized site. Here an intra-oral device is mounted which helps in gradual distraction, thereby stimulating bone growth. This is gaining popularity as a receding chin surgery.

The other surgical option is a bilateral sagital split osteotomy. In this surgery, the lower jaw is split and placed forward so as to make the chin more prominent.

At times, a third option called mentoplasty may prove beneficial, if the mandible is of the right size but only the chin is not very prominent.

On a concluding note, an orthognathic surgery is mostly recommended in case of individuals affected by mandibular micrognathia. It must be noted that performing certain exercises can help reduce fats present below the chin. While this can make the chin becomes a bit more prominent, the best way to treat a receding chin is only through a corrective jaw surgery.


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