How Is Mouth Widening Surgery Done?

Q: Dr. Eppley, is there a mouth widening surgery? can a mouth actually be enlarged? My mouth is so small dentists literally have difficulty working inside. One told me it was the smallest mouth he’s ever encountered  (I’m not making this up). A 1/4 inch more would make me and my dentist infinitely grateful. But is that possible?

A: Yes a mouth can really be enlarged or made wider (longer) from a horizontal standpoint. Known as a lateral commisuroplasty, the corners of the mouth are opened up and the horizontal width (length) of the corners are expanded. This is done by making  a 1/4 inch (6mms) incision in the skin from the vermilion-cutaneous junction horizontally outward. Then the vermilion lining (pink part of the lip) is advanced from the inside out to make a new lining and corner point. While an incision is necessary, all scars line remain along the vermilion-cutaneous junction (skin-lining edge) and not beyond the corners of the mouth. When done on both sides this amounts to a 1/2 inch mouth widening. When you factor in scar contracture of about 25% to 33%, that still leaves one with a 1/4 inch or more increased mouth width.This is a very simple procedure that can be done under local anesthesia.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana