Mouth Widening Surgery

Q: Dr. Eppley, I notice you also do a surgery that can increase the width of your mouth. (mouth widening surgery) Can this be combined with a corner lip lift? Also does the procedure that increases the size of the mouth help the smile out? I notice when I smile I only have about 4 teeth showing on each side not because of the way my teeth are but because of how narrow my smile is. It just doesn’t stretch nearly as far as I would want it to. Would a wide mouth surgery give me more of a cheshire cat grin where I would be able to expose more teeth on the sides?

A: A mouth widening procedure can be combined with a corner of the mouth lift. It is just how the angle of the mouth widening is positioned to create that effect. A mouth widening procedure has a static effect, not a dynamic one. It is the pull of the zygomaticus and upper lip muscles that drives the corner of the mouth and the upper lip upward and outward to expose the teeth. It is not how wide the distance between the mouth corners are that has the biggest effect. Thus, I would not expect much improvement in tooth show just with a mouth widening procedure. But it certainly will not hurt and may have some small improvement in tooth show.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana