My Left Lip Does Not Go Up when I Smile. You Cannont See my Teeth. What Do I Do?!

I am 15 years old and I have a very small mouth and I want full lips with a pretty smile. When I smile, you cannot see my teeth. My left lip does not go up when I smile. I know im young but i am not happy with my smile. I get made fun of and cry a lot. I really want a "new smile" and i dont know where to go from here. My lips are not symetrical and I want them to be. I want a gorgeous smile but I dont know what to do! :(

Doctor Answers 8

Asymmetric Smile, San Diego, CA

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This is indeed an interesting problem, and demands study by a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, and a circumspect approach.  Your seventh (facial) nerve function should be carefully examined.  If intact, I would consider a unilateral (left sided only) lip lift... although this is certainly NOT a perfect solution.  The lip lift is a static procedure, and will lift the left side in repose, but may not change your smile sufficiently for you.  An internal (mucosal) resection may help also.  There are other possibilities, but those procedures are more complex, and normally reserved for patients with seventh nerve dysfunction. 

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Weakness and Asymmetry of the Upper Lip

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Thank you for the photos and I can appreciate your concerns.  To answer you question regarding fuller lips, yes the lips can definitely be augmented with a procedures to allow more fullness.  This can be done with fillers, fat grafting, as well as implants.  My main concern is the weakness which you display at the left upper lip.  There seems to be weakness of the facial nerve in this area which is causing the lack of lip elevation on the left.  I would suggest to first undergo a comprehensive head and neck evaluation to possibly find out the etiology of this weakness.  Good Luck... Dr. Corrado

Anthony Corrado, DO
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Asymmetry of smile

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The fact that your left upper lip will not move up when you smile means that, for some reason, the facial nerve does not work properly.  This can occur through a variety of different mechanisms including trauma, previous surgery, previous treatment of other disease (eg, for cancer), or it can just be something that you were born with.  There are a variety of techniques that can be used to improve the symmetry of your smile.  You should discuss this with a physician with expertise in the treatment of facial nerve disorders.  Usually this is an otolaryngologist, or a facial plastic surgeon.

P. Daniel Ward, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

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BOTOX can sometimes turn up the corner of the lip

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Botulinum toxin such as BOTOX can sometimes turn up the corner of the lip and slightly reduce the flatness of the smile.  In addition, fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane can help to give a more symmetric and full smile.  This condition may be improved somewhat with fillers and BOTOX, but you should be realistic and not expect a perfect symmetry with smiles because that is not always possible to achieve. 

Joseph A. Eviatar, MD, FACS
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Lip won't go up when I smile

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Please have your parent(s) read this answer with you.  From your picture, it appears that you may have a weakness of the facial nerve brabnch that innervates the upper lip on the left side.  This would explain why the right upper lip raises, when you smile, and the left does not.  You and your parents should see a neurologist to test for this nerve weakness and rule out any medical causes.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Lip function problem

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As Dr. Aldea said, you need to get seen by a pediatric neurologist to diagnose why the function is not normal.  This should be done before any treatment.  Please avoid all surgery because it may well make things worse.

Lip symmetry

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I would suggest a trial of Botox therapy to the elevator muscles of the right side of the upper lip. This could give a better balance of your expression. Of course, it will require periodic treatment to maintain a successfull result.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon

My Left Lip Does Not Go Up when I Smile. You Cannont See my Teeth. What Do I Do?!

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There is not much that can be done. Based on your photograph you have an asymmetric smile with lack of lifting of the left lip. Nothing a Plastic surgeon can do will allow you a symmetric lifting of both lips and may indeed worsen the asymmetry.

It is best that you be examined by a Pediatric Neurologist to see why the muscles/nerves on the left are not functioning as well as those on the right. Until we go a proper diagnosis surgery should not be considered.

Dr. Peter A Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.