Will An Upper Lip Advancement (Gull Wing Lip Lift) Help Show More Of My Upper Teeth?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I found your website researching the vermilion advancement or gullwing lip lift and  wonder if you could help me. I had a subnasal or bullhorn lip lift procedure done a month ago in order to show upper teeth when keeping my mouth open. I have always had a long philrum. Before surgery it was 20mm in length and now it is 13mm. Just like before, however, I do not show any upper teeth when my mouth is open or when I talk or when i smile. I do not have any more swelling at this point so I know this result is final and am considering a revision. Do you think a gull wing lip lift help me show my upper teeth?

A: With a central reduction of upper lip length from 20 to 13mms, that is a 1/3 reduction which is about the limits of this centrally-based upper lip shortening procedure. It is surprising that you have not made even a little upper tooth exposure with that reduction. But your anatomy and direction and vectors of lip movement may be working against you to achieve any better dental show. I would not be optimistic that a lip advancement would produce the desired dental uncovering. Lip advancements are great at making the lips bigger but I have never seen them result in any increased dental show of either the upper and lower lip. Lip lifts (bullhorn) are more effective at that than lip advancements. (gull wing) It may be possible but is not the primary intention of that procedure.

I would have to see pictures of your lips, both at rest and smiling,to give you a more qualified answer. It is also possible that you may benefit by an internal mucosal reduction which provides the ‘missing link’ in complete upper lip shortening.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana