Q: Dr. Eppley, I am in need of mouth opening surgery. I’ve been to all the doctors in my area but not one of them can solve my mouth problem. I’ve had all my teeth pulled out, which was very hard for me because my mouth cannot open widely. It cannot stretch as big as normal mouths can. I wanted to make my dentures but I couldn’t because they couldn’t measure my gums because the measurement thing cannot fit into my mouth. I’m so so sad because I am ashamed to talk like I used to because I have no teeth. Can you give me some advice please. One doctor said that he could cut the sides of my mouth but there will be scars afterwards. I hope that you can help me with some advice. I cannot go on with my life like this, a toothless 34 year old and i cannot even fix my dentures. Thank you for your time.
A: The correct procedure for increasing mouth opening (oral aperture) is the oral commissurotomy or mouth opening surgery. The sides of the mouth are opened by making an incision in the skin away from the corners of the mouth and the lining of the inside of the mouth is moved out to cover the new opening. While this does create scars, they are along the new lip margins…not ending up in the skin in a line running away from the corner of the mouth. This is a favorable location for the scars along a natural tissue border. This would provide improvement provided that the reason you can not get into your mouth is tight skin at the corners of the mouth.
Dr. Barry Eppley