When Do Jaws Stop Growing?

My niece always complains about her jaw clicking. Is this because of the growing plates? (she's 14) One side of her jaw is wider than the other. The narrower side is the one that's clicking. Does this mean that the non clicking side is already developed. The same thing happened to me before and to this day one side of my jaw is slightly wider and stronger than the other. How much wider would a jaw grow from 14 yrs to 25 yrs old. Could mine be still developing as well? I like my jaw so ihope not

Doctor Answers 2

Jaw growth and clicking

Jaw growth varies by sex, age, and growth pattern.  On average, jaw growth progresses into the late teens and occasionally into the early twenties especially in class III growth abnormalities (underbites) and males.

Your description sounds a bit like a case of unilateral condylar hyperplasia which occurs during growth to one side of the jaw where one side grows disproportionally to the other.  This results in an asymmetrical rotation and translation of the jaw upon opening which may create a "pop" or click in the articular disc upon opening.  Changes in the bite also can produce clenching or bruxing of the teeth resulting in joint noise.  In more severe cases, changes in facial symmetry often occur.

A complete evaluation by a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon is indicated to diagnose and if needed treat these issues.

Best of Luck!

Greensboro Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

TMJ Problems and Growing Jaws, Orthognathic Jaw Surgery, TMJ Surgery

The jaws usually stop growing in females around the ages of 16-17.  For males usually 18-21.  This is only a guide and not always true.  Every individual is different.  You can determine when growth stops with serial cephalometric films or even hand / wrist films to see if the growth plates are gone.  The size discrepency may mean this individual has a dentofacial deformity known as hemifacial microsomia.  It cant be determined until she is examined by a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon.  This is something that usually will not correct itself and quite often requires surgicalintervention (orthognathic surgery). If not addressed this may cause severe deterioration of her TMJ and may require joint replacement.  The surgery is usually done near the time of ceasation of growth as you are inquiring.  Make sure to have her examined.  In my practice I  perform this surgery quite often with excellent long term results.  Seek the advicce of a board certified OMS

Brian Dorfman, MD, DMD
Phoenix Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.