What Is The Best Way To Correct A Recessed Upper Jaw (Maxilla)?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, My upper jaw (maxilla) seems to be slightly recessed and the natural outward projection of maxilla is not present creating an unusually flatter profile in mid-face. My chin is also recessed but interestingly don’t have any bite problem. After extraction orthodontics(to treat crowding) the problem seems to have aggravated and now the upper teeth show way behind the upper lip and now the dental arch provides minimal support to the lip. This makes the upper lip to hang without proper base support resulting in speech problems. (lisp) I also had an unsuccessful chin surgery (implant removed 1 yr back) creating awkward tensions in chin fold area and trickier lower lip movement. Combined with above, my face is in pretty bad shape and preventing me to achieve a good speech. Kindly suggest what are the options.

A: By your description, it sounds like the fundamental problem is that of maxillary horizontal retrusion. That has been magnified by the teeth extractions for orthodontics which have pulled the anterior maxillary teeth (and the lip support) further back. It would be important to have a full facial skeletal workup on you (photographs, x-rays and dental models) to determine the viability of orthognathic surgery. (maxillary and mandibular advancement combined) That would treat the fundamental underlying problem of a deficient skeletal base. Onlay implant facial augmentation is another option (midface and chin implants) but should only be considered if the orthognathic surgical approach was either not possible to do or was too extreme an approach to go through.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana