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Why Does the Right Side of My Upper Lip Curl When I Speak (and How a Botox Injection Can Help)

You may be one of those people who notice that every time you speak, your upper lip curls and reveals your gums underneath. This can happen on the left or right side of your upper lip, or your entire upper lip. You might even notice that your upper lip curls when you smile or make any facial movements with your lips, to the point that your entire upper lip disappears when you smile.

So why does the right side of your upper lip curl when you speak? You’re either born with naturally thin lips or you might be experiencing a sign of aging. While a curling upper lip isn’t a serious medical issue, it can make you feel conscious about how you look, especially when talking, smiling, or laughing. This is when Botox injections can come to your rescue.

Learn More: How Many Botox Units Are Needed For Lip Lines?

Discover Your Beauty Potential with Aesthetica

Aesthetica can assist you with all your beauty needs, helping you achieve your maximum beauty and aesthetic potential. Call or contact us today to learn more about our cosmetic services.

Why Your Upper Lip Curls When You Speak 

There are generally two reasons for your upper lip curling. First, this might have to do with your thin lips. You can be born with naturally thin lips, or this may be a sign of aging. And second, you may have what’s known as a “gummy smile.”

Thin Lips 

For older people, thin lips are a sign of aging. Younger people tend to have fuller, plump lips because of their body’s steady collagen production. As a person ages, however, their body’s collagen production gradually reduces. As a result, your lips lose their plumpness and appear to be thinner. 

When you speak, it appears as if your lips disappear because it’s thin enough to curl inwards. Although thin lips are a sign of aging, some people can also be born with naturally thin lips. Either way, this can be treated with lip fillers and lip injections. Having thin lips, however, can also exacerbate your lip curls if you have a gummy smile. 

Gummy Smile

Gummy smiles can affect people of all ages. This is a dental issue where, when you smile, you expose excessive gum tissue, which can make you feel self-conscious when you smile or open your mouth. 

One cause for a gummy smile is when the muscle in your mouth that controls the upper lip is hyperactive and causes involuntary movements and muscle spasms. As a result, your muscle curls your upper lip higher than normal, giving you the appearance of thinner lips and more gums when you move your upper lip.   

In case of a gummy smile caused by the upper lip muscle, one solution is to head to our medical spa and get a lip flip. This is a procedure that uses Botox to prevent excessive curling and make your upper lip look fuller. 

What Is a Lip Flip?

A lip flip is a form of treatment where Botox is injected into your Cupid’s bow (the center of your upper lip where both sides of your lip dip into a V-shape) and the corners of your mouth. The lip injections then relax the muscles controlling your upper lip. 

Instead of curling inwards and disappearing when you speak, your upper lip flips upwards and outwards. Not only does it prevent a gummy smile, but it also makes your lips look fuller and plumper.  

How Botox Helps

While Botox injections are generally used to treat wrinkles, the concept of how it treats facial wrinkles by paralyzing facial muscles can also help treat gummy smiles. Botox injections contain Botulinum Toxin which, in small amounts, are safe to use for cosmetic procedures.

When injected into a certain facial muscle, Botox temporarily paralyzes the muscle. For wrinkles, this prevents muscle movement to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. But for gummy smiles, this prevents your upper lip muscles from curling inwards. Instead, it relaxes your upper lip and flips outwards to make your lips look fuller.   

Who Can Get Lip Flips?

Ideally, patients that opt for lip flips are those who:

  • Are over the age of 18 
  • Are not allergic to Botox
  • Do not have an active skin infection like acne or eczema
  • Want to consider other options aside from a lip filler
  • Notice lip curling when the speak, smile, or any other upper lip movement
  • Notice excessive gums when they smile. Ideally, you should also check with your dentist to see if your gummy smile is not due to excess gums covering your teeth or an issue with upper jaw development. 

Lip Flips vs. Dermal Fillers

 A lip flip and lip filler may seem like similar procedures that provide the same results. While they do make your lips look fuller, it’s not exactly the same result.

Lip Flip Botox is injected into your lips to relax your muscles.Only appear to look fuller. In reality, it’s your upper lip’s muscle changing its angle outwards instead of inwards. There’s no added volume to your lips.Can stop your upper lip from curling inwards.Looks more natural as nothing is added to change your upper lip’s volume.  Lasts for up to 3 months, though results can vary.Lip Filler Gel substance mostly made of hyaluronic acid injected into your lips to look fuller. Plastic surgeons may also use fat extracted from other parts of your body instead of dermal fillers.Changes the structure and volume of your lips.A lip filler only creates an aesthetic change, but will not stop your facial muscles from moving.Risk of looking unnatural if done by an inexperienced professional from too much filler.Lasts up to 12 months, but  results can vary.


Aside from these two, there’s also the option to have lip implants to make your lips look fuller. It’s best to discuss with your plastic surgeon or dermatologist which route is best to give you natural-looking full lips. 

Learn More: Can You Get Botox and Dermal Fillers Under the Eyes and Lips at the Same Time?

Lip Flip Procedure

Medical spas and aesthetic clinics that provide Botox injections may also provide lip flip procedures. Lip flips use fewer units of Botox, so the average cost of this procedure can range between $80 to $500. 

Before the procedure, a doctor or medical professional may recommend the same pre-procedure steps to help minimize pain and side effects. This can include avoiding alcohol and blood-thinning medication at least 72 hours before the procedure, as these can affect your blood and increase the chance of swelling, inflammation, and bruising.  

The procedure itself is similar to a Botox injection procedure for wrinkles. It should take less than 15 minutes: your doctor will sterilize the injection site and then administer Botox into your Cupid’s bow and corners of your upper lip. No anesthetic is required, and the pain is very minimal. 

Aftercare and Results

No downtime and recovery period is required after your lip injections. However, like a regular Botox procedure, it’s important to practice the following:

  • Avoid laying down for a few hours after the procedure. 
  • Avoid touching, rubbing, and massaging the injection sites for at least one day. This is to prevent spreading the Botox into surrounding areas, making it less effective on the actual upper lip muscles. 
  • Avoid smoking for a few days after the procedure. 
  • Practice sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your stomach or on your side can press your lips against the pillow and spread the Botox around the treated area. 

Aside from these, you can immediately return to your regular routine. It should take around three days before you see initial changes, and then up to two weeks before you notice your lip flip taking effect. Your lips are less likely to curl inwards or disappear when you speak or smile. 

The effects of the Botox injection can last up to three months, though it is possible for the effects to last longer. However, this is only temporary and will eventually revert back into a gummy smile if left untreated. To maintain fuller lips, you’ll need follow-up Botox sessions. 

Common Side Effects

Botox for lip flips is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so you can rest easy knowing that this is a safe procedure done by many medical professionals. However, you might experience several minor side effects days after the procedure. 

  • Inability to spit, whistle, or move your upper lip like you normally would
  • Difficulty keeping fluids and saliva in your mouth
  • Unable to properly pronounce certain words due to less movement on your upper lip 
  • Minor bruising and swelling at the injection site – these symptoms are your body’s response to the injection.

These effects normally go away on their own within a few days. If you experience bruising in the injection site, this should fade away after two weeks. In case you feel pain and discomfort from the swelling, you can take over-the-counter painkillers, but avoid aspirin as this can have blood-thinning effects. 

If you experience symptoms like muscle weakness and a severe difficulty in breathing or swallowing, seek medical attention. 

Learn More: How Long Does Swelling Last After Lip Botox Injections?

Get Fuller Lips with a Lip Flip from Aesthetica

woman received botox injection in her lips

Lip flips are great for patients who want to avoid those unsightly upper lip curls. With minimal pain and no downtime, it’s one of the practical and effective ways to confidently smile or speak with natural-looking plump lips.

Aesthetica is a state-of-the-art medical spa led by experienced doctors and specialists who can combine science and beauty to produce excellent results. Our injectable treatment options provide you with natural results that only get better with time. Schedule a consultation online to see if lip flips are your best option. Get fuller lips and enhance your look with Aesthetica today.

Discover Your Beauty Potential with Aesthetica

Aesthetica can assist you with all your beauty needs, helping you achieve your maximum beauty and aesthetic potential. Call or contact us today to learn more about our cosmetic services.

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