Growth of the face begins at the end of the 4th week in utero (in the womb).
Our face consists of 2 jaws: 1) the upper jaw or the 'maxilla'; and 2) the lower jaw or the 'mandible'. The maxilla grows down and forward slightly. The mandible does the same, but it does so by growing backwards and up which pushes it forward and down from the base of the skull! Hence, the mandible or lower jaw actually lengthens from the back.
Facial growth is usually complete around 16 years of age for girls but tends to continue in the early twenties for boys. On average, girls hit their pubertal growth spurt around 12 years of age whereas for boys this tends to be 15 years of age.
These ages are important because the best time to perform orthodontics for an ‘overbite’ correction is during a child’s pubertal growth spurt but definitely before growth stops!