What Is A Recessed Maxilla?

recessed maxilla and normal maxilla diagram

The position and development of the maxilla, which forms the upper jaw, play a crucial role in both facial aesthetics and function.

A recessed maxilla, where the maxilla is set back more posteriorly in the face, can have a significant impact on how a person’s face appears and functions.

How Recessed Maxilla affects Facial Aesthetics

Facial Appearance and Tired-Looking Eyes

eye bags

A recessed maxilla can result in a vertical growth pattern of the top jaw, causing the eyes to appear protrusive and tired.

This vertical growth can lead to sagging eyelids, giving the impression of droopy eyes that constantly look tired.

Additionally, the excess vertical growth can cause the eyes to show an excessive amount of white, further contributing to a fatigued appearance.

Weak Chin and Double Chin

The development of the lower jaw is heavily influenced by the development of the upper jaw.

Therefore, a recessed maxilla often leads to a weak chin.

A strong chin is considered a desirable facial feature, and its absence due to a recessed maxilla can impact facial harmony.

weak chin vs strong chin

Furthermore, a weak chin can also contribute to the appearance of a double chin, even in individuals with a healthy body weight.

Excessive Gum Display

One of the aesthetic drawbacks of a recessed maxilla is excessive gum display.

When the maxilla is not properly supported by the tongue during facial growth, it can elongate and expose more gum when a person smiles.

gingival/gum show

This excessive gum display is generally considered unattractive and can affect the overall facial esthetics.

Good-looking faces tend to show minimal gum when smiling, and an increased gum display can detract from a person’s attractiveness.

Functional Challenges and Health Implications

Impact on Breathing and Airway

Apart from the aesthetic concerns, a recessed maxilla can also lead to functional challenges and health implications.

When the maxilla is set back, it can reduce the size of the airway, potentially leading to snoring and even sleep apnea.

While young children rarely experience sleep apnea due to their typically good facial structure, bad habits like mouth breathing can contribute to the development of a recessed maxilla.

This is why many individuals tend to look worse as adults than they did as children, as the recessed maxilla negatively impacts the airway.

Double Jaw Surgery for Airway Improvement

In some cases, maxillofacial surgeons perform double jaw surgery with the primary objective of improving the patient’s airway and addressing sleep apnea.

By moving both the maxilla and the mandible forward, the size of the airway can be drastically increased, leading to improved breathing ability.

This surgical intervention has shown promising results in treating obstructive sleep apnea, as it directly addresses the underlying issue of a recessed maxilla and its impact on the airway.

“Double jaw surgery can be a life-changing procedure for individuals with a recessed maxilla and associated airway problems.

By correcting the position of the maxilla and mandible, it not only improves facial aesthetics but also enhances breathing and reduces the risk of sleep apnea.”

Dr. John Smith, Maxillofacial Surgeon

The Importance of Early Intervention

The development of a recessed maxilla often begins during childhood and adolescence.

It is crucial to identify and address any potential issues early on to minimize the long-term consequences.

One effective approach gaining popularity is known as “mewing.”

Mewing: A Natural Approach to Maxillary Development

Mewing is a technique that aims to stimulate proper development of the maxilla by actively engaging the tongue and maintaining correct oral posture.

By placing the tongue in the roof of the mouth and maintaining nasal breathing, individuals can potentially encourage forward growth of the maxilla and improve facial aesthetics.

This technique has gained a significant following, with many people reporting positive changes in their facial structure and overall appearance.

“Mewing is an empowering technique that can help individuals take control of their facial development.

By adopting proper oral posture and consistent practice, individuals may enhance their facial aesthetics and potentially prevent or minimize the need for surgical interventions.”

Dr. Sarah Johnson, Orthodontist

Seeking Professional Guidance

While mewing offers a natural approach to maxillary development, it is essential to seek professional guidance from orthodontists, maxillofacial surgeons, or other qualified healthcare professionals.

They can assess the severity of a recessed maxilla and recommend appropriate interventions, such as orthodontic treatment, maxillary expansion, or surgical options like double jaw surgery.


A recessed maxilla can have a significant impact on both facial aesthetics and function. It can affect the appearance of the eyes, chin, and gum display, leading to a tired, imbalanced facial appearance.

Early intervention, through techniques like mewing or professional guidance, can play a vital role in addressing a recessed maxilla and its associated issues.

By taking proactive steps to correct a recessed maxilla, individuals can improve not only their facial aesthetics but also their overall well-being and quality of life.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

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