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Condylar Overgrowth / Undergrowth

The "ball" of the lower jaw "ball and socket" joint (TMJ) is called the condyle. Defects in the growth of the condyle can lead to joint problems and facial deformities.

Undergrowth of the condyle can be congenital, but is more frequently caused by trauma, infection or the after-effects of radiation therapy.

Overgrowth of the condyle is a progressive developmental condition whose cause is not known. The condyle continues to grow past the point of normal development causing asymmetric facial development and a skeletal deformity. Condylar overgrowth is usually diagnosed when a patient is in their late teens or early twenties.

Symptoms

Condylar undergrowth or overgrowth will likely result in a misalignment of the upper and lower jaws and a facial asymmetric deformity. Condylar undergrowth causes the lower jaw and chin to deviate towards the affected side of the mandible. Condylar overgrowth, on the other hand, causes the lower jaw and chin to be pushed towards the unaffected side. In both types, the TMJ may function incorrectly causing pain and discomfort, or may actually function quite normally.

Diagnosis

Evaluation of the growth and development of the condyle is usually determined through x-rays, a CT scan, and a Bone scan.

Treatment

Condylar undergrowth and overgrowth may require surgical care to manage any functional problems of the joint and correct the facial deformity. The often requires a combined orthodontic and surgical treatment plan to provide the patient with a comfortable and functional bite, functioning TMJ, and facial form.

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