Who is a candidate for a chin implant?
Patients who desire a chin implant are those with a small, retracted chin have usually been bothered by it their entire life. For the most part, it is unrelated to how well the teeth fit together and is called microgenia. Other terms you may have heard are micrognathia and retrognathia. Micrognathia means that the jaw is small and an overbite is present, and retrognathia means that the jaw is normal is size but set back also creating and overbite. In both of the latter cases, oral surgery is a better option so that the teeth are brought back into normal position. In the case of microgenia, augmenting the chin is a viable option since no work needs to be done on the teeth.
A small chin can be repaired using multiple techniques with the most common being placement of a silicone chin implant. Incisions are made inside the mouth to place the chin implant at the bottom edge of the jaw. Because the pocket made is just big enough to fit the implant, plates and screws are generally not needed. Another option for chin augmentation is by making cuts in the bone to slide it forward (sliding genioplasty). This technique is more invasive and often not necessary since modern implants are well-tolerated, have fewer risks, and has a much quicker recovery. A wide variety of shapes and sizes are available, and they can even be custom designed if needed.
What is recovery like after a chin implant?
After the chin implant is placed, the incision in the mouth is closed with dissolving sutures. While healing, instructions are given to use a special mouthwash to keep bacteria from collecting in the crevices of the mouth. Brushing the teeth is allowed at any point as soon as it is comfortable. A compressive dressing is also placed around the chin and jaw for added support. This is kept on at all times during the first week and then only while at home the following week. It is normal to have some numbness on the chin, and it usually improves within 2-6 weeks. Rarely, a pocket of fluid or blood can accumulate alongside the chin implant. If this happens it can cause excess pain and swelling for a longer period of time. The fluid should be drained in the office immediately if this occurs.