Upper Lip Horizontal Line: Characteristics of a Dynamic Facial Line

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 13;17(18):6672. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17186672.


Background: Upper lip appearance received major attention with the introduction of diverse treatment modalities, including lip augmentation, rhinoplasty surgery, and dental treatment designed to support the upper lip. Our objectives were to define the prevalence and characteristics of the upper lip horizontal line (ULHL), which is a dynamic line appearing during a smile, in relation to gender, malocclusions, aging, and facial morphology. Methods: First, the prevalence and gender distribution of ULHL was examined from standardized en-face imaging at full smile of 643 randomly selected patients. Second, cephalometric and dental cast model analyses were made for 97 consecutive patients divided into three age groups. Results: ULHL appears in 13.8% of the population examined, and prevailed significantly more in females (78%). The prevalence of ULHL was not related to age nor to malocclusion. Patients presenting ULHL showed shorter upper lip and deeper lip sulcus. The skeletal pattern showed longer mid-face, shorter lower facial height and greater prevalence of a gummy smile. Conclusions: Female patients with short upper lip, concavity of the upper lip, and gummy smile are more likely to exhibit ULHL. The ULHL is not age-related and can be identified in children and young adults. Therefore, it should be considered when selecting diverse treatment modalities involving the upper lip.

Keywords: aging; facial morphology; sexual dimorphism; smile; upper lip; wrinkle.

MeSH terms

  • Cephalometry / methods
  • Child
  • Face / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lip / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Malocclusion*
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smiling
  • Young Adult