Awkward Smile- Is my Mouth Too Small? Will Corrective Jaw Surgery Fix This?

I was told to get braces but got bonding instead to fill in spaces. I got them done Oct 5th, 2005 at (I'm now 20). My smile is really awkward, even before I got bonding, so I don't think the bonding is the cause. I can't smile big and when I smile normally, my smile looks forced and my laugh lines get really deep making me look older. I bite sideways, and my chin is really asymmetrical and straight. I have the appearance of a double chin and I feel like my jaw is the problem. What can be done?

Doctor Answers 2

Sounds like You Need to See a Specialist

Based on just those three photos alone I can't advise you one way or another, but I can tell you a bit about some of the concerns you voiced:

  • Can't Smile Big - Part of what you might be describing might the dark spaces on either side of your teeth between your lips when you smile (buccal corridors). This can be fixed with orthodontics, which will help make your smile seem more broad and full.
  • Deep Laugh Lines - You might just be a really happy person and the laugh lines are from repetitive expressions, which is perfectly normal. This is not something I'd correct with Botox since that would affect how big you can smile and it looks like there is not excessive muscular action. However, if these lines are more static, there could be a deficiency of facial volume causing ptosis of some of your skin causing wrinkles. This can be address numerous different ways from surgical options to simple injections of dermal fillers.
  • Biting Sideways - This might be caused by your teeth not fitting together well, and widening your smile (how many teeth are showing) with braces can help coordinate your upper and lower teeth together and keep you from having to do this.
  • Asymmetric Chin - We all have minor asymmetries, but if you want it changed you you have a few options including a genioplasty to make your chin more centered in your face.
  • Double Chin - It is true that jaw surgery to move your lower jaw forward can provide some reduction, but given that your bite looks like it fits well front to back and your lower lip doesn't stick out too far you'd likely have to also have your upper jaw moved forward as well. I am not certain you need all that; the double chin could simply be from soft tissue redundancy. Some of the more involved surgical procedures like jaw surgery are a big risk and it really needs to be justified to put someone through that. You really need a comprehensive consultation with a specialist.

Some orthodontists and dentists don't have training with plastic surgical procedures, so really the first place I would go is to a plastic surgeon from there they can work with an orthodontist as needed. They will be able to give you a full exam and discuss what options are best for you.

Allentown Orthodontist


Without a physical exam it is difficult to provide an opinion as to whether or not orthognathic surgery is the best option to help improve your smile.  I can however provide options that address each area that you mention.  First, to improve laugh lines and diminish the depth of the nasolabial folds, dermal filler can be injected to plump the area and create a more youthful appearance.  Second, to correct the bite after orthodontic treatment, orthognathic surgery would be required to adjust the angle and occlusion of the jaw.  Third, to correct any deficiencies in the chin, mentoplasties or genioplasties can be used to move the chin forward or backward to improve the profile.  Lastly, if there are any stubborn fatty deposits under the chin, liposuction can be done in conjunction with other procedures to contour the submental space.  Correcting facial disharmony can be a complicated undertaking.  In some cases one procedure may be required but in others multiple procedures may be needed.  My recommendation is to research for board certified oral maxillofacial surgeons.  Then schedule a consultation for a thorough exam to get a personalized surgical plan designed to get you the look you wish to achieve.

Be well and good luck!


Morgan E. Norris, III, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

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