Will A Corner Of The Mouth Lift Help My Drooling?

Q:  I have drooling from the corners of my mouth and its embarrassing. I am 73 years old and have not had a stroke and I am still working everyday. What can be done for this corner of the mouth drooling problem. It was also occasionally get red and sore and painful. When this happens, it takes a fair while until it finally gets better. I have tried all sorts of antibiotic creams and salves but nothing seems to be that effective. I have read about a procedure called the corner of the mouth lift that removes the overhanging skin. Do you think this will help?

A: Downturning of the corners of the mouth, combined with aging which creates a skin overhang, creates a gutter effect at the corner of the mouth. This is the perfect setup for a runway for saliva. This problem can be further magnified with one has overclosure of their lower jaw due to a loss of teeth or ill-fitting dentures. This overclosure causes a lower lip inversion which makes the drool problem at the corner of the mouth worse. Localized infection at the mouth corners can happen due to the chronic wetness of skin that is not normally so like the lining inside the mouth. This is known as angular cheilitis. Topical steroids and antifungals can help but a change of the anatomy is more effective.

The corner of the mouth lift can be really helpful for this problem as it removes the skin overhang and lifts the mouth corner. This eliminates much of the spillway problem. There is a trade-off of a small scar that tails away from the mouth corner but this is not usually a significant cosmetic concern.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana