Maxillary Enlargement – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Maxillary enlargement refers to the abnormal growth or enlargement of the maxilla, which is the upper jawbone that forms the roof of the mouth and supports the upper teeth. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors and can lead to a range of symptoms and complications.

One of the most common causes of maxillary enlargement is a condition called maxillary sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the sinuses located in the maxilla. This inflammation can cause the sinus cavities to become blocked, leading to a buildup of fluid and pressure in the maxilla. Over time, this can result in the enlargement of the maxilla and the development of symptoms such as facial pain, headache, and nasal congestion.

In addition to sinusitis, other causes of maxillary enlargement include genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, and certain medical conditions such as Paget’s disease and fibrous dysplasia. These factors can disrupt the normal growth and development of the maxilla, leading to its enlargement.

Treatment for maxillary enlargement depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In cases of maxillary sinusitis, antibiotics and decongestants may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove blockages in the sinuses and restore normal drainage.

Causes of Maxillary Enlargement

Maxillary Enlargement - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Maxillary enlargement can be caused by several factors, including genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, and certain medical conditions. One common cause is acromegaly, a hormonal disorder that results in excessive growth hormone production. Another possible cause is Paget’s disease, a condition characterized by abnormal bone remodeling. In some cases, maxillary enlargement may be a result of a developmental abnormality or a consequence of trauma to the face or jaw.

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The symptoms of maxillary enlargement can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common symptoms include facial pain or pressure, difficulty breathing or speaking, chronic sinus infections, and changes in facial appearance. Patients may also experience dental problems, such as misalignment or overcrowding of teeth. In severe cases, maxillary enlargement can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep.

Diagnosing Maxillary Enlargement

Diagnosing maxillary enlargement typically involves a thorough medical history and physical examination. The dentist or oral surgeon may also order imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, to assess the size and shape of the maxilla. Additionally, blood tests may be conducted to evaluate hormone levels and rule out underlying medical conditions.

Treatment Options for Maxillary Enlargement

The treatment of maxillary enlargement depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In some cases, non-surgical treatment options, such as medication or orthodontic appliances, may be recommended to manage symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition. However, in severe cases or when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical treatments for maxillary enlargement may involve jaw surgery, bone grafting, or orthognathic surgery to correct the position and shape of the maxilla.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after Maxillary Enlargement Treatment

After undergoing surgical treatment for maxillary enlargement, patients will typically require a period of recovery and rehabilitation. This may involve a liquid or soft food diet for a certain period, as well as pain management and follow-up appointments with the surgeon. Physical therapy or speech therapy may also be recommended to help patients regain normal jaw function and speech abilities.

Potential Complications of Maxillary Enlargement Treatment

Preventing Maxillary Enlargement

Preventing maxillary enlargement may not always be possible, especially if the condition is caused by genetic factors or underlying medical conditions. However, maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding trauma to the face or jaw, and seeking early treatment for any dental or medical issues can help reduce the risk of developing maxillary enlargement. Regular dental check-ups and consultations with an oral surgeon can also aid in early detection and management of this condition.

Causes of Maxillary Enlargement


Genetics play a significant role in the development of maxillary enlargement. Some individuals may inherit genes that predispose them to have a larger maxilla. This can be passed down from parents to their children, resulting in a familial pattern of maxillary enlargement.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can also contribute to the development of maxillary enlargement. Hormones such as growth hormone and estrogen can affect the growth and development of the maxilla. An excess or deficiency of these hormones can lead to abnormal growth of the upper jawbone.

Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis, which is inflammation of the sinuses that lasts for an extended period, can cause maxillary enlargement. The sinuses are located within the maxilla, and when they become inflamed, it can lead to an increase in the size of the upper jawbone.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of complete or partial obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. This condition can cause maxillary enlargement due to the constant pressure and strain on the maxilla caused by the obstruction of the airway.


Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that occurs when the pituitary gland produces excessive growth hormone. This excess growth hormone can lead to the enlargement of various bones in the body, including the maxilla.

Cleft Lip and Palate

Other Factors

Maxillary Enlargement - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Other factors that can contribute to maxillary enlargement include certain medications, trauma to the face or jaw, and certain medical conditions such as Paget’s disease and fibrous dysplasia.

Common Symptoms of Maxillary Enlargement

Facial Deformity

One of the most noticeable symptoms of maxillary enlargement is facial deformity. The abnormal growth of the maxilla can cause the face to appear asymmetrical or disproportionate. This can result in a flat or sunken appearance of the midface, as well as a retruded or recessed upper jaw.

Dental Malocclusion

Maxillary enlargement can also lead to dental malocclusion, which is a misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. This can cause problems with biting, chewing, and speaking. Common types of malocclusion associated with maxillary enlargement include an open bite, crossbite, or overbite.

Other symptoms that may be present in individuals with maxillary enlargement include:

  • Nasal obstruction or congestion
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Speech difficulties
  • Snoring or sleep apnea
  • Headaches or facial pain
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Ear problems, such as ear infections or hearing loss

Diagnosing Maxillary Enlargement

Diagnosing maxillary enlargement involves a thorough examination of the patient’s medical history and a physical examination. The healthcare provider will ask the patient about their symptoms, such as facial pain, difficulty breathing, or changes in facial appearance. They will also inquire about any previous surgeries or treatments the patient has undergone.

During the physical examination, the healthcare provider will carefully examine the patient’s face and mouth. They will look for signs of swelling or deformities in the maxillary region. They may also use imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, to get a better view of the maxillary bones and surrounding structures.

In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to rule out any underlying medical conditions or to confirm a diagnosis. A small sample of tissue from the maxillary region may be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Key points to remember:

  • Diagnosing maxillary enlargement involves a medical history review and physical examination.
  • Imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, may be used to aid in diagnosis.
  • A biopsy may be performed to confirm a diagnosis or rule out underlying conditions.
  • Accurate diagnosis is crucial for developing an effective treatment plan.

Treatment Options for Maxillary Enlargement

1. Orthodontic Treatment: In mild cases of maxillary enlargement, orthodontic treatment may be recommended. This involves the use of braces or other dental appliances to gradually move the teeth and jaw into the correct position. Orthodontic treatment can help improve the alignment of the teeth and reduce the size of the maxilla.

2. Palatal Expansion: Palatal expansion is a common treatment option for maxillary enlargement. It involves the use of a palatal expander, which is a device that is placed in the roof of the mouth and gradually expands the maxilla over time. This treatment can help widen the upper jaw and improve the overall shape of the face.

3. Surgery: In more severe cases of maxillary enlargement, surgery may be necessary. There are several surgical options available, including maxillary osteotomy and Le Fort I osteotomy. These procedures involve cutting and repositioning the maxilla to reduce its size and improve facial aesthetics. Surgery is typically recommended when other treatment options have been unsuccessful.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Maxillary Enlargement

1. Orthodontic Treatment:

Orthodontic treatment, including braces and aligners, can help correct maxillary enlargement by gradually moving the teeth and expanding the upper jaw. This treatment option is most effective during childhood and adolescence when the bones are still growing and more responsive to orthodontic forces.

2. Palatal Expanders:

A palatal expander is a device used to widen the upper jaw. It is typically attached to the molars and applies gentle pressure to expand the maxilla gradually. Palatal expanders are commonly used in children and teenagers to correct crossbites and create more space for proper dental alignment.

3. Maxillary Protraction:

Maxillary protraction is a treatment technique that involves using a specialized appliance to move the upper jaw forward. This helps stimulate growth in the maxilla and can improve facial harmony and profile. Maxillary protraction is often used in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.

4. Functional Appliances:

Functional appliances, such as headgear or facemask, can be used to correct maxillary enlargement in growing individuals. These appliances apply gentle forces to redirect the growth of the upper jaw, helping to achieve a more balanced facial structure.

5. Speech Therapy:

In some cases, maxillary enlargement can affect speech and articulation. Speech therapy can be beneficial in improving speech clarity and addressing any speech-related issues caused by maxillary hypoplasia.

Surgical Treatments for Maxillary Enlargement

Surgical treatments are often recommended for cases of severe maxillary enlargement that cannot be effectively treated with non-surgical options. These procedures aim to correct the underlying structural issues in the maxilla and improve the overall appearance and function of the jaw.

In some cases, a combination of maxillary advancement and impaction surgeries may be necessary to address both horizontal and vertical maxillary enlargement. This approach allows for comprehensive correction of the maxilla and can lead to significant improvements in both appearance and function.

During these surgical procedures, the surgeon will carefully evaluate the patient’s facial structure and plan the exact movements and adjustments needed to achieve the desired outcome. Advanced imaging techniques, such as 3D CT scans, may be used to assist with the planning process and ensure precise surgical execution.

Recovery after maxillary enlargement surgery typically involves a period of swelling, discomfort, and dietary restrictions. Patients may need to follow a soft or liquid diet for a few weeks and avoid strenuous activities that could disrupt the healing process. Pain medication and antibiotics may be prescribed to manage pain and prevent infection.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after Maxillary Enlargement Treatment

After undergoing maxillary enlargement treatment, it is essential to follow a proper recovery and rehabilitation plan to ensure optimal healing and long-term success. The recovery period may vary depending on the specific treatment method used and individual factors, but there are general guidelines that can help facilitate the healing process.

1. Rest and Relaxation: It is crucial to allow your body to rest and recover after maxillary enlargement treatment. Avoid strenuous activities and get plenty of sleep to promote healing.

2. Pain Management: Some discomfort or pain is normal after the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage any pain or discomfort during the recovery period.

3. Follow Post-Operative Instructions: Your surgeon will provide you with specific post-operative instructions to follow. These may include dietary restrictions, oral hygiene practices, and guidelines for taking care of any surgical incisions or wounds. It is essential to follow these instructions carefully to promote proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

4. Swelling and Bruising: Swelling and bruising are common after maxillary enlargement treatment. Applying cold compresses to the affected area can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort. Your doctor may also recommend specific exercises or techniques to aid in reducing swelling.

6. Follow-Up Appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon are essential to monitor your progress and address any concerns or complications that may arise. These appointments allow your surgeon to assess the healing process and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

By following these guidelines and working closely with your surgeon, you can ensure a smooth recovery and rehabilitation after maxillary enlargement treatment. Remember to communicate any concerns or questions you may have during the recovery period to your healthcare provider for proper guidance and support.

Potential Complications of Maxillary Enlargement Treatment

Some potential complications of maxillary enlargement treatment include:

Complication Description
Infection There is a risk of infection at the surgical site. This can occur due to bacteria entering the wound during the procedure or inadequate post-operative care.
Excessive bleeding During the procedure, there is a risk of excessive bleeding. This can be managed by the surgeon, but in some cases, additional medical intervention may be required.
Nerve damage There is a possibility of nerve damage during the maxillary enlargement procedure. This can result in numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the affected area.
Facial asymmetry In some cases, maxillary enlargement treatment may result in facial asymmetry. This can occur if the procedure is not performed correctly or if there is an uneven distribution of bone growth.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues Maxillary enlargement treatment can potentially affect the function of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. This can lead to jaw pain, difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, and other TMJ-related symptoms.
Impaired speech or swallowing In some cases, maxillary enlargement treatment can lead to temporary or permanent changes in speech or swallowing. This can occur due to alterations in the position or size of the maxilla.
Allergic reactions

It is crucial to note that these complications are rare and can often be managed or prevented with proper medical care and follow-up. However, it is essential to discuss any concerns or potential risks with a qualified healthcare professional before proceeding with maxillary enlargement treatment.

Preventing Maxillary Enlargement

Maxillary enlargement can be a distressing condition that affects the structure and appearance of the face. While there are various treatment options available, it is always better to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips on how to prevent maxillary enlargement:

Eat a Balanced Diet

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can lead to various dental and oral health issues, including maxillary enlargement. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Regular dental check-ups are also important to detect any early signs of maxillary enlargement and other dental problems.

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Habits like thumb sucking, nail biting, and excessive jaw clenching can put unnecessary pressure on the maxillary bones, leading to their enlargement over time. Avoiding these habits can help prevent maxillary enlargement and maintain the natural shape of your face.

Protect Your Face from Trauma

Accidents and injuries to the face can cause damage to the maxillary bones, leading to their enlargement. To prevent this, always wear appropriate protective gear when participating in sports or engaging in activities that pose a risk of facial trauma. Additionally, be cautious when walking on slippery surfaces or in crowded areas to avoid falls that could result in facial injuries.

Seek Early Treatment for Dental and Oral Health Issues

Addressing dental and oral health issues promptly can help prevent complications that may contribute to maxillary enlargement. Regular dental check-ups and seeking treatment for issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and malocclusion can help maintain the health of your maxillary bones and prevent enlargement.

By following these preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of developing maxillary enlargement and maintain the natural shape and structure of your face. Remember, early detection and treatment of any dental or oral health problems are key to preventing maxillary enlargement. If you notice any changes in your facial structure or experience symptoms such as facial pain or difficulty chewing, consult a dentist or oral surgeon for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.