How Can My Long Chin be Made Shorter?

Q: Hi Dr Eppley, I have read your article about  chin reduction. I am a female and I have  a long chin and my self-confidence is affected by it. I have attached some pictures for you to see what can be done about it. By the way, I wear a full lower dental denture (one original tooth left) and I have partial upper denture. Most of my remaining teeth has been root canaled. Thank you and looking forward to hear from you.

A: In reviewing your pictures, you undoubtably have a very long chin. But, equally relevant, is that your face has a great imbalance between your upper jaw (maxilla) and your lower jaw. Your midface is very flat and recessed, partly because of your ethnicity but also because it is underdeveloped. This is magnified by your loss of teeth which contributes to your maxillary atrophy from a horizontal projection standpoint. Your lower jaw is very long with a high jaw angle. This combination has created a significant maxillary-mandibular mismatch (short maxilla, long mandible) and is a major contributing factor to your appearance of a ‘long chin’. One of the missing  pieces of information is what your bite (occlusion) is like. With these facial bone relationships, you may also have a Class III malocclusion or underbite.

From a corrective standpoint, the ideal approach is to move the entire lower jaw back and the upper jaw forward. This would ideally solve this long chin appearance. But that may be more than you want to do, although having most of your occlusion done by dentures, it is not so far fetched. Short of orthognathic surgery, the other combination would a vertical chin reduction osteotomy and possible paranasal augmentation of the midface. This would not make as big of a change as orthognathic surgery but it would be a noticeable difference.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana