Can My Smile Be Made Wider And My Upper Lip Be Shorter And Have More Shape?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, Hi. I have a few queries about possible procedures which may enhance my smile and lip shape. First of all, I have quite a small mouth, as in the horizontal distance from corner to corner of my lips is quite short, and therefore my mouth at rest is small and my smile does not show many teeth. Is there any procedure, such as lip lengthening, which can make my mouth opening wider- hence make the horizontal distance of my mouth at rest longer, and to make my smile wider? My next issue- which I think is related, is that my top lip covers quite alot of my top teeth when smiling, and also I would like my top lip to be more outturned or ‘pouty’. Is there a surgery which can reduce the distance between the nose and the lip to reveal more vertical distance of the teeth when smiling, and to achieve a more “pouty” shape? I’m not sure if it would help to send photos, but I can if that is needed. Thank you in advance!

A: What you are seeking is a horizontal widening of the corners of the mouth and a vertical shortening of the upper lip. There are surgical procedures for each of those changes. The upper lip can be vertically shortened, the upper lip become more pouty and more upper teeth can be shown through either a subnasal lip lift or an upper lip vermilion advancement. Which one is better for you would depend on seeing a picture of your lower face for my assessment and what location of scar would be preferable. (under the nose or along the vermilion-cutaneous border) The corners of the mouth can be widened through a commissuroplasty procedure where a v-shaped segment of skin is removed (about 5 to 7mms per side) and the corner vermilion advanced outward on each side. Whether that fine line scar around the corners of the mouth is acceptable would be the concern.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana