Micrognathia is a term that describes an abnormally small lower jaw.
In true micrognathia, the jaw is small enough to interfere with the infant's feeding. Infants with micrognathia may need special nipples in order to feed properly.
Micrognathia may be the only abnormality in a child. It often corrects itself during growth, especially at puberty when the jaw grows quite a bit. It also can be caused by certain inherited disorders and syndromes.
Micrognathia is one cause of abnormal alignment of the teeth. You can see this in the way the teeth close. Often there will not be enough room for the teeth to grow. Talk to an orthodontist when the child's adult teeth come in. At times, children can outgrow micrognathia, and it makes sense to wait to treat the condition until they are older.
If micrognathia interferes with feeding, you'll need to use special feeding techniques and equipment. You can learn these techniques through special programs that are available at most hospitals.
Call your health care provider if
Contact your health care provider if:
- Your child seems to have a very small jaw
- Your child has trouble feeding properly
What to expect at your health care provider's office
The doctor will do a physical examination and may ask questions about the history of the problem, such as:
- When did you first notice that the jaw was small?
- How severe is it?
- Does the child have trouble eating?
- What other symptoms are present?
The physical examination will include a thorough check of the mouth.
The following tests may be performed:
If there are other symptoms that indicate an inherited condition, testing for that condition may be advised. The health care provider might recommend surgery or orthodontic devices.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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