Can A Chin/Jaw Implant Help Align My Lower Jaw Better?

Q: I hope you can help answer some questions about chin/jaw implants please? I have a weak jaw line in that my bottom jaw is slightly further back than that of my front, if you follow. I was wondering if I would be a candidate for a chin/jaw implant and if you believe this would assist in aligning my jaw whilst avoiding a lower jaw construction which I would rather not go through?

A: Small horizontal chin deficiencies are usually the result of lack of bone growth in the chin area only. (symphysis) More significant chin deficiencies, however, are a problem with the growth of the entire lower jaw (condyle, ramus and body), meaning that the whole jaw is short not just the chin. This can be clearly evident by how one’s teeth comes together. In a jaw deficiency, the lower teeth are offset behind the upper teeth by a 1/2 to full tooth. (known as a Class II malocclusion) Chin augmentation, whether done by an implant or cutting just the chin bone, improves the projection of the chin and the facial profile but does not align the entire lower jaw.

Aligning the lower jaw, by bringing the entire jaw forward that contains the teeth, provides chin enhancement but also improves one’s bite (occlusion) as well. This is most commonly done by a sagittal split osteotomy of the lower jaw which is performed in the ramus of the mandible. It is clear to see that jaw alignment and chin augmentation are the not the same thing. Jaw alignment by bone advancement will simultaneously give chin augmentation but chin augmentation alone will not create a lower jaw alignment.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana