What Can Be Done For My Long Upper Lip That Hides My Teeth?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I am a 51 year-old female that is unhappy with my upper lip. It has become flaccid with age and my philtrum is elongated and flat. My lip droops over my teeth and subsequently you do not see my upper teeth when I smile. I want to shorten my philtrum and open up my smile to see more of my teeth and try to look more youthful. I am open to all suggestions.

A:  Thank you for your inquiry. You are describing perfectly the need and benefits of an upper lip or vermilion advancement. This is an excisional procedure where a predetermined amount of skin in a very specific shape is removed and the vermilion of the upper lip advanced or moved upwards. This will not only shorten the upper lip, between the base of the nose and down to the top of the cupid’s bow of the upper lip, but it will also cause more upper tooth show. To get the philtral columns more pronounced like ridges and not completely flat, dermal graft inserts can be placed vertically along their length at the same time as the upper lip advancement. This can be a procedure done under local anesthesia in an office setting.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana