• FAQs
wasperformed FacialSurgery.com
Steven M. Denenberg, M.D.
Dr. Denenberg's articles on Medium.com.


My nose gets too long (or too wide) when I smile

When you smile, you move your facial muscles, and that movement can change the appearance of the nose.  Exactly how the nose changes depends on how you smile; everybody's smile is a little different.  Some people have a big toothy smile, some smiles are more like a smirk, some are snarly.  Each of these smiles uses different muscles and moves the nose differently.

The two most common complaints are that the nose gets wider or longer with a smile.  In a typical smile, the mouth and upper lip widen.  If you put your finger on the tip of your nose, and trace the edge of your nostril back to where the nostril and the cheek meet, you have found the junction between the nose and the cheek.  Now keep your finger on that spot, and smile hugely.  You'll see that your finger moves out to the side with the cheek skin when you smile.  If you smile a smirky smile, with your mouth shut, your finger on that junction spot might not move at all, and if you smile a snarly smile, your finger can move up instead of out to the side.

Also, during a typical smile, the upper lip tightens and pulls back, and the tip of the nose pulls down slightly.

We don't design a rhinoplasty so that the nose will look just right when the patient is smiling.  It's hard enough to get things right when the face is in repose, and that's how you spend 90+ percent of your time, so it's more important that the nose look good with the face at rest.

Even so, people who complain of the nose's smiling appearance usually see benefit during a smile after a rhinoplasty.  If the complaint is that the nose is too long while smiling, then the nose is usually too long at rest, too.  If the nose is shorter at rest after the rhinoplasty, it will still lengthen in a smile, but it's smiling length will be shorter, too.

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