In general, crown lengthening is performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. Additionally, crown lengthening can also be used to correct a “gummy” smile, in which the teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. Through reshaping or recontouring the bone and gum tissue, crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth. If you want to create a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile, this treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line.
In most cases, crown lengthening is performed under local anesthesia. In addition to soft tissue removal, the amount of time required for this procedure depends largely on how many teeth are involved. Prior to the procedure, any existing dental crowns will be removed and replaced as soon as possible.
To separate the gums from the teeth, the dentist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue. Even if only one tooth requires reshaping, neighboring teeth are often treated to achieve a more even result. The dentist is able to access the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone by separating the gums.
Sometimes, a small amount of tissue may be removed in order to provide sufficient exposure for the placement of a crown. A small amount of bone may also have to be removed from around the teeth in some cases by the dentist, depending on the condition. A combination of special hand instruments and rotary instruments are usually used to remove the bone during this procedure. Rotary instruments are similar in appearance to the drills used to treat cavities.
Once the dentist is satisfied that the teeth have been exposed sufficiently, the wound is cleaned with sterile water and the gum tissue is sutured using small stitches. In the immediate aftermath of surgery, the teeth will appear noticeably longer due to the fact that the gums have been repositioned.
To prevent the spread of infection at the surgical site, the dentist will use an intraoral (periodontal) bandage to cover the surgical site. A prescription for pain medication may be provided, as well as a chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) mouth rinse to reduce the growth of bacteria in the mouth. It will take approximately two to three months for the surgical site to completely heal.
In case you have any questions about crown lengthening, please do not hesitate to ask your dentist.
Our dentists pride themselves on putting your needs first and offering FREE PARKING — a rarity for downtown dentists. We care and we listen. Our dentists have years of experience and are here to serve your needs at every appointment. If you have a question about your smile or need a second opinion, we’re here to help.