Can The Maxillary Alveolar Process Be Reduced To Create Less Projection of My Upper Lip?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Hi! I just had a quick question. I have a slight maxilla prognathism. As a teen, I had braces that basically moved my upper teeth back in the maxilla, but the excess “bony-ness” remained between the base of nose and top of teeth. Basically, it creates a “monkey mouth” effect. Anyways, my teeth are actually in good position because of the braces, but I was curious if it is possible to shave the gum bone down to give a flatter look between the base of the nose and top of the teeth. Thanks!

A: That is a good question but the answer is no. Right underneath that bone (1 millimeter or two) lies the tooth roots which is what it is called the alveolar bone. Only the bone that lies above the tooth roots can be safely reduced but not the alveolar process. (maxillary alveolar reduction is not possible)

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana