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Cropped photo of a woman’s protruded lips showing front teeth.Cropped photo of a woman’s protruded lips showing front teeth.

Do Protruded Lips Affect Your Smile?

By: BeSeen Team

Date: February 14, 2024

All faces feature some form of asymmetry. These imperfections are usually tolerable; sometimes, they even add character and charm to one’s appearance. The same is true with protruded lips, which may possibly impact your looks, including your smile.

How Protruded Lips Impact Your Appearance 

Protruding lips pose aesthetic challenges that affect how you present yourself in public and take a bite out of your confidence. Here are the potential negative effects of this facial feature: 

  • Flawed smile: Despite genuine intentions to smile, your grin may still convey a subdued or pensive vibe. Others might even perceive it as forced, inauthentic, and unattractive.
  • Involuntary teeth and gum exposure: Excessive lip protrusion can expose your teeth and gums, even when you’re not smiling. It might create the impression of bite issues, even if they don’t exist.
  • Unnecessary focus on the facial feature: Because the protruding lips are more prominent, they can draw excessive attention and overemphasise the asymmetry.
  • Lack of facial harmony: The prominence of the lips can overshadow other facial features, creating a disproportionate appearance. 

Other Possible Effects of Protruded Lips 

Woman closing her eyes while eating a donut.
Besides affecting your smile, protruded lips can result in speech and eating difficulties.

The effects of having protruding lips extend beyond your smile. Besides giving you a somber appearance, lips that overly protrude may also lead to:  

  • Speech difficulties: In some cases, pronounced lip protrusion might slightly alter speech patterns or enunciation.
  • Difficulty chewing and eating: Research from the Journal of Dentofacial Anomalies and Orthodontics indicates that underlying issues concerning protruding lips may possibly cause problems with how you eat and speak. In some cases, a protrusion may result in drooling.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Overly prominent lips might make it challenging to maintain oral hygiene due to difficulties cleaning teeth or gums efficiently.
  • Insecurity and low self-esteem: Individuals with protruded lips might experience self-consciousness about their facial appearance, impacting their self-esteem and confidence.

How to Know If You Have Protruded Lips 

Close-up of woman's lips
Consult a doctor to find out how you can correct your protruding lips to flash your most balanced smile!

To find out if you have protruding lips, you can begin by facing a mirror and examining your features. Optionally, you can try the simple straight ruler test. Take a ruler and hold it vertically downwards. Position it against your nose. If you have a sharp nose, the ruler shouldn’t hit any other part of your face. But if it touches your lips, then they could be protruded.

While self-evaluation provides initial insights, consulting an expert can offer a better assessment of your condition. A dentist, orthodontist, or cosmetic surgeon can provide a more comprehensive diagnosis and suggest corrective measures to get you smiling confidently again.

They can also help determine potential issues related to facial bone structure, muscle tone, and dental alignment that may contribute to the prominence of your lips. Beyond teeth or jaw structure, other possible concerns are genetics, childhood habits like thumb-sucking, a protruding tongue, and, in some cases, a cyst or tumour in the mouth or jaw. Seeking professional guidance is crucial for understanding the factors behind the facial feature.

Is There Hope for Your Protruded Lips? 

You may wonder, can protruding lips be improved? The answer is a resounding yes! The good news is there are ways to enhance the appearance of your lips so you can smile with renewed confidence.

Consult your doctor for the best action plan for your specific condition. They will likely provide options ranging from muscle training to cosmetic surgery like lip reduction or reshaping. Again, seek professional advice to ensure treatment is safe and appropriate.

Can orthodontics help treat protruding lips? 

Top row of ClearCorrect aligners.
If your doctor determines that crooked teeth are behind your protrusion, dental aligners can be an effective solution.

Yes, a protruding mouth or lips may result from uneven or crooked teeth. But studies from the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics reveal the effectiveness of orthodontic treatment in correcting lip protrusion.

However, if you wear braces as a treatment, your lips may appear to stick out further because of the wires and brackets. As an alternative, consider a more comfortable and discreet approach to straightening your teeth with dental aligners. Explore options like ClearCorrect, which offers the treatment you need without causing your lips to protrude. 

Protruding lips may seem harmless, but they can signal an underlying condition that needs attention, like a misaligned bite. If you’re self-conscious about a pout that sticks out, remember there are ways to achieve a balanced, beautiful grin. Consult your dentist to identify the culprit behind the facial feature and determine a treatment plan so you can reclaim your confident smile.

 

References: 

Ballester Ferrandis, Jose Francisco & Martinez-Soriano, Francisco & Vega, Maria & Ferrandis, Juan. (2018). Assessment of facial harmony among Caucasian Spaniards 18 to 60 years of age and its relationship with the golden ratio. European Journal of Plastic Surgery. 41. 10.1007/s00238-017-1348-1.

Bellamine, M., & Ousehal, L. (2014). Treatment of a case of a Class III bimaxillary protrusion. Journal of Dentofacial Anomalies and Orthodontics, 17(1), 108. 

Gick, B., Mayer, C., Chiu, C., Widing, E., Roewer-Després, F., Fels, S., & Stavness, I. (2020). Quantal biomechanical effects in speech postures of the lips. Journal of Neurophysiology, 124(3), 833–843.

Hong, R., & Ahn, J. (2021). Correction of a gummy smile and lip protrusion by orthodontic retreatment with lingual appliances and temporary skeletal anchorage devices. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 160(4), 603–616.

Partal, I., & Aksu, M. (2017). Changes in lips, cheeks and tongue pressures after upper incisor protrusion in Class II division 2 malocclusion: a prospective study. Progress in Orthodontics, 18(1).

Rajandram, R. K., Ponnuthurai, L., Mugunam, K., & Chan, Y. S. (2023). Management of bimaxillary protrusion. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America, 35(1), 23–35. 

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