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Cherubism in Dallas, TX

Parents rely on the expertise and experience of the physicians at International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas, Texas. Patients affected with Cherubism will have their signs and symptoms accurately diagnosed, assessed, and treated by using all available means of medical intervention. 

What Is Cherubism?

Cherubism is a disorder manifesting itself by abnormal growth of cyst-like lesions replacing the bone. The condition typically affects children between the ages of 2 to 7 until puberty. In many cases, it is self-limited, and surgical treatment may not be needed. Some symptoms may be mild and are not easily detectable. In other cases, the symptoms are significant enough to interfere with the ability to breathe, speak, and swallow.

Cherubism may also affect the vision as the cheeks enlarge over the years and interfere with the orbital area. Because of the rapid growth of the jaws, dental problems may develop such as tooth displacement or crowding as well as root resorption, eventually leading to permanent tooth loss. Through adulthood, the signs begin to regress, and by the age of 30, they may be completely eliminated. Surgical procedures are usually recommended only if the condition progresses aggressively and interferes with functional abilities of the patient, such as obstructed airways, or if the appearance of the face is severely altered by the disorder.

Rarely, Cherubism may accompany other conditions such as Ramon, Noonan, or X syndromes characterized by short stature and intellectual impairment. Gingival fibrosis (overgrowth of the gums) may also be present, resulting in additional dental discrepancies.

Can Cherubism Be Inherited?

Cherubism can be inherited if at least one of the parents carries a mutated gene. However, in many cases, the condition develops in people with no family history of the disorder. The mutation can appear spontaneously during the embryonic phase of the child’s development. The protein that carries the mutation remains highly active for a longer period of time than usual, leading to Cherubism. The disorder is more prominent in males than females, and it is very rare. Only 250 cases worldwide have been reported.

What Are the Symptoms of Cherubism?

  • Symmetrical bone resorption in both maxilla and mandibula (upper and lower jaws)
  • Displaced eyeballs and pushed down eyelids
  • Upward gazing appearance
  • Prominent cheeks
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Distinct dental inconsistencies (premature primary tooth loss, unerupted permanent teeth)
  • Inversion of the palatal cleft
  • Altered speech patterns
  • Difficulty chewing and breathing

How Is Cherubism Diagnosed?

Cherubism is often diagnosed during dental exams. The initial determination is made by the use of x-rays followed by CT scans. The final analysis is made through genetic testing. Biochemical, molecular, and chromosomal assessment is performed once all data is gathered. Proper diagnosis will guide the approach to treatment and management of Cherubism.

How Is Cherubism Treated?

As the condition corrects itself in most cases, many patients and physicians choose not to pursue any invasive surgeries. The most recommended venue is to wait for spontaneous regression of the disorder combined with periodic evaluations and emotional support. However, in extreme cases, a surgical approach should be implemented if important functions are impaired. These may include multiple tooth extractions, bone curettage of present lesions, or cosmetic osteoplasty.

Missing teeth are often replaced with partial dentures in the maxillary region and with overdentures with copings for the mandibular arch. The aesthetics can be corrected with the proper fabrication of the dental prosthetics with matching color of the existing teeth and properly shaped coronal surface of remaining dentition. The oral discrepancies may be permanent even when the disorder goes into remission.

Even though Cherubism was first diagnosed over 70 years ago, its exact cause is not fully understood. The disease is painless, and the symptoms are typically mild to moderate. Very few severe cases have been reported to date. The research is ongoing in efforts to better recognize and treat the symptoms during the childhood and adolescent years. The appearance of Cherubism may have significant emotional effects on young patients and may have some psychological consequences, sometimes leading to depression and social withdrawal. Continuous professional and family support is crucial in maintaining the young person’s positive attitude and overall wellbeing.

Why Choose International Craniofacial Institute?

The International Craniofacial Institute is one of the leading institutes for craniofacial disorders and conditions. Our doctors and surgeons have treated over 17,000 patients with genetic disorders worldwide. These disorders are most often centered on craniofacial issues, palate repair, and cleft lip repair. In addition to diagnosing and treating these issues themselves, the doctors and specialists also train other professionals from all over the world. The International Craniofacial Institute was founded by Dr. Kenneth Salyer, a surgeon, in 1971, and today it is headed by Dr. David G. Genecov.

If you have a child or another family member who is suffering from a genetic syndrome or has a cleft lip, cleft palate, or craniofacial complication, the staff at the International Craniofacial Institute can help. Contact us today to talk with the doctors and staff about your options and how we can help.