protruding mouth

Two Techniques For Correcting A Protruding Mouth in South Korea

A severely protruding mouth can make the face look sullen and morose. People with protruding mouths are often mistaken to be “pouting” all the time and, therefore, often labelled as being “chronically grumpy”. This feature appears to be quite common in certain ethnic groups particularly in South East Asia and Africa.

How do you know if you have a protruding mouth?

It might appear to be a strange question to ask but a mouth that juts out only slightly might not be considered anatomically significant  from the perspective of a plastic surgeon. So, before you jump to the conclusion that a protruding mouth is detracting from your facial symmetry and want to undergo surgery to correct it, you should first make sure that your mouth protrudes significantly. Here are a couple of basic tests or “rules-of-thumb” to check for this:

– The straight ruler test: If you take a straight ruler and place one end on the tip of your nose and let the other end hang vertically downwards the ruler should, ideally, touch the tip of your chin or – if you have a long or highly projected nose — should not touch any other part of your face except for the tip of the nose. If, however, the ruler touches your mouth then you can be said to have a protruding mouth.

– The closed mouth test: A normal mouth should close fully without having to exert any force on your lips. If your mouth does not close fully when your lips are relaxed then you might have a protruding mouth. If you are not habituated to having your lips relax (as you have always made an unconscious effort to keep your mouth closed), then there is a tell-tale sign that you are actually exerting your lip muscles: wrinkles on the chin or on the sides of the lips. So if you cannot close your mouth fully without having these wrinkles appear on the chin or lips, then you know that you have a protruding mouth.

– A gummy smile: If your gums show extensively when you smile then this is often also a result of a protruding mouth.

– Your lips look thick and the nose looks flat in relation to the rest of your face: This does not necessarily imply that you have a protruding mouth as these conditions could be satisfied due to a combination of a flat nose and thick lips even when you do not have a protruding mouth. 

 – Your chin looks receded relative to the mouth: This is also not really a rigorous test as this condition could be satisfied if you have a receding chin even if you do not have a protruding mouth. In such a case your mouth looks like it is protruding relative to the chin even when it might not be protruding relative to the nose and the rest of the face. 


What causes a protruding mouth (a mouth that juts out from the face)?

Abnormally protruding teeth and gums are the main causes of mouth protrusion. There are three main types of mouth protrusion:

– Only the teeth protrude while the upper and lower jaw bones are normal.

– The teeth are straight but the gum is protruding.

– Both teeth and gum are protruding.

protruding mouth

What are the techniques to correct a protruding mouth?

All patients will have to go through a 3D CT scan to isolate the root cause of the protruding mouth and plan a corrective surgery. The surgeon will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and suggest the most suitable technique to fix the problem after studying the results of the CT scan. There are 2 main techniques for correcting a protruding mouth as follows:

#1: Anterior Segmental Osteotomy (ASO)

This technique is applied when teeth are straight, but just the gum itself is protruding. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and often takes 1-1.5 hours.

2 premolar teeth behind the canines (2 upper, 2 lower) will be carefully extracted. The gum bone will be cut and shifted backwards. The surgeon will then push back the protruding gum and teeth into the site of the extracted teeth to reverse the protrusion of the gum.

This technique can help move the protruding gums back by as much as 7-8mm. Orthodontic treatment is required to fill up the empty area for about 6 months.

#2: Two jaw surgery + ASO (also known as three jaw surgery)

This procedure is recommended when there is severe protrusion of the mouth (bimaxillary protrusion) as well as a short or receding chin.

This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and often takes 1-2 hours to complete.

In this procedure an Anterior Segmental Osteotomy (ASO) will be first performed as described above and then, the lower jaw bones will be cut and moved forward to correct the receding chin. Medical pins will be used to fix the bones. The three jaw surgery will address both a receding chin and a protruding mouth, at the same time.

What are the advantages of each technique to correct a protruding mouth?

#1: Anterior Segmental Osteotomy (ASO)

– A protruding mouth can be solved with only one relatively simple surgery and the result can be seen just 1-2 weeks after the surgery.

– Swelling is generally less compared to other facial contouring surgeries. The patient can return to a regular routine after 2-3 days.

– This procedure can make a significant difference to your appearance with relatively less trauma.


protruding mouth

#2: Two jaw surgery + ASO (also known as three jaw surgery)

– Both a receding or weak chin and a protruding mouth can be corrected at once, making this procedure more holistic than just an ASO surgery.

– This surgery can help achieve greater overall facial balance than just an ASO surgery can achieve and can even make the nose appear higher without any surgical intervention on the nose.

protruding mouth

What are the recovery timeline and precautions after the protruding mouth surgery?

#1: Anterior Segmental Osteotomy (ASO)

ASO surgery is a cosmetic surgery with a relatively minimal recovery period.

Moderate pain is expected for a couple of days after the surgery. Patients can go back to their normal life after two weeks, but it’s recommended to avoid strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks.

Soft foods and healthy drinks such as thin rice gruel, fresh juice, un-sweetened milk and drinkable liquid foods are highly recommended for the first two weeks after the procedure as these types of food can be easily chewed and limit pressure and swelling around the jaws.

The patient will have to see the surgeon one week after the surgery to ensure there are no complications or infections inside the mouth.

#2: Two jaw surgery + ASO (also known as three jaw surgery)

This surgery is more intensive than just ASO so it will take longer for the patient to be back to normal life.

The patient will have to spend at least two days in a hospital facility after the surgery.

The ice packs must be applied continuously right after the surgery. The dressings around the face should also be kept intact until the surgeon sees you the next morning.

Consumption of soft food is advised as the jaw bones are not fixed together normally. The patient can be discharged from a hospital after going through a 3D CT scan to make sure there are no complications. Going through too much physical exertion or stress should be carefully avoided.

The stitches can be removed after 7-10 days.

protruding mouth

What is the cost of protruding mouth correction surgery?

Without health insurance coverage for the procedure, protruding mouth surgery cost can range from about USD 12,000 to USD 19,000. While a protruding mouth is typically corrected to improve one’s aesthetic appearance, it could be covered by insurance in rare cases where it is proven to contribute to dental malocclusion or misalignment (abnormal bite) which, in turn, can lead to complications with chewing or digestion of food.

Costs vary by surgeon, geographic region, and the complexity of the procedure.