Diagnosing Jaw Abnormalities
At The Mount Sinai Hospital, our physicians have specialized expertise in detecting and diagnosing the full spectrum of jaw abnormalities. The diagnosis of a jaw problem can be made at any time. Some problems may go unnoticed at earlier ages and only get recognized when the adult teeth appear and the patient becomes skeletally mature. Planning the correction of skeletal, soft tissue, and dental anomalies often requires collection of data from numerous sources. The medical and dental history and clinical examination are essential to formulate a detailed treatment plan and may involve:
- Examination of the height and width proportions of the face
- Profile looking at the projection of different parts of the face
- Relationship of the jaws to one another
- Exam of the health of the teeth
In addition to seeing a physician, patients will undergo additional imaging tests to evaluate the extent of the jaw deformities. These may include:
- Cephalogram: This plain x-ray of the head and face allows for comparison against a typical profile and compensation over time to assess growth. By tracing and measuring the lateral and posterior/anterior cephalograms, one may objectively evaluate the bony and soft tissue morphology.
- Computed tomogram (CT): CT scans are increasingly being used for surgical evaluation and planning.
- Orthopantomogram: This x-ray sweeps around the face to produce a flat image of the lower jaw (mandible).
- Plaster dental models: These are created from impressions of the teeth and studied individually and manipulated with each other to assess how the arches are coordinated.