Will a Lip Lift Help to Show Upper Teeth when I Smile?

When my mouth is closed it looks pretty normal, but when I smile, my top lip don't lift up to show my teeth. It hangs over my teeth like a curtain. I have really perfect teeth that don't show and I don't know what to do.

If i force a smile it shows but does not look natural. Would a Lip lift help?

Doctor Answers 12

Lip shortening

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Your lip is not long, and does not need shortening. I yet have to see a lip shortening scar that I liked, or did not need revision.


Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Lip lift candidate

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Thank you for question and sharing your photo.  A lip lift procedure would be ideal to shorten the distance between your upper lip and the base of the nose.  It is a simple office-based procedure, often done with local anesthesia and can help you achieve more teeth show when you smile as well as more lip show.  Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who performs lip lifts as part of their practice.

Will a Lip Lift Help to Show Upper Teeth when I Smile?

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Thank you for your question. The Lip Lift procedure is performed to accentuate the size and/or shape of the upper lip by removing skin from the region just underneath the nose. As the distance is decreased between the nose and the lip, the red lip is 'lifted' which may impart or restore a more favorable balance to lips and face. The Lip Lift is intended to improve 'teeth show' but that is most noticeable at rest. Given the muscle involvement during smiling, increased visibility of your upper teeth during smiling is less predictable. I would advise you to consult in person with a facial plastic surgeon with experience performing this procedure.

James M. Pearson, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

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Increases tooth show at rest

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Yes, that is the purpose of the procedure. It is intended to increase tooth show when at rest. When smiling there is more muscle involvement but more tooth show is expected as well but it more difficult to predict. Consultation is key to make the best decisions. 

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Will a lip lift improve my smile?

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Dear Tamryn

Many thanks for posting your question and photograph. From what I can see, it is likely that you would benefit from a lip lift, performed as an office-based procedure under local anaesthetic.

It is important to see a plastic surgeon with experience of lip lifts for an in-person examination to ensure that it is the right procedure for you

Correcting Balance of Upper and Lower Lip

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The main purpose of the lip lift is to obtain the correct balance of the upper and lower lip, gain more vermillion show and be able to see 2-3 mm if incisoral show with a modest smile while the mouth is slightly opened. It is important to access the dentition before any lip lifting. If the front teeth are very short and the lip length is in the correct balance then maybe a dental approach would be more appropriate. Classically, however, there is usually lack of incisoral show when the upper lip is long. Remember also if a significant lip lift is done centrally a corner lift procedure most likely will be required to balance the amount of vermillion or lip show.

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Lip lift and tooth show while smiling

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Measure the distance between the base of the nostrils and the red part of your lip. If it is more than 1.5 centimeters you could get a good result.

If you hold your mouth slightly open and the upper front teeth don't show, lip lift would definitely help.

Check out the video below and the web link for more info to see if you are a good candidate.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Lip lift not a good idea to help smile

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I would strongly caution you against having any type of “lip lift” procedure. At best, it will probably make your gums too visible. Most likely, surgery of this nature will produce an unnatural and perhaps a deforming appearance. Your pictures indicate that you are pretty with nice features and a nice natural smile. This is your anatomy. I recommend that you try to accept your good looks.

Lip shortening

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Lip lift may potentially help with an enhanced show of your upper teeth. However the scar which is placed under you nose is often very visible. Also other forms of lip lift will leave scars that can be highly disturbing. In addition,an under bite may be the cause of this. The latter can be corrected by orthognatic dentistry.

No lip lift

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According to this picture the distance between you lip and nose appears smaller and therefore I would be somewhat reluctant to advise a lip lit. Your vermillion and mucosa seem relatively larger and a lip reduction could help show more of your teeth. Another problem could be the inclination of your teeth. I would discuss this both with your dentist and plastic surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

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.