Crown lengthening is a common procedure that’s often performed to improve the health of the teeth and gum tissue, especially before a new crown is placed. Occasionally, crown lengthening is also done to correct what’s commonly referred to as a “gummy smile”, meaning that there’s a disproportionate amount of gum tissue covering the teeth. If crown lengthening has been recommended, you probably have questions about the procedure. We’d like to take this opportunity to discuss crown lengthening in more detail.
What Is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is a procedure to remove gum tissue, bone or sometimes both to expose more of the tooth. The goal is to have enough of the tooth exposed above the gum line to be able to proceed with additional dental procedures. If a tooth has broken off too close to the gum, or there otherwise is not enough healthy tooth to adhere a crown to, the lengthening procedure is recommended.
Crown lengthening is considered a minor periodontal surgery and is nothing to fear. The procedure is typically done using local anesthesia. Once properly anesthetized, the patient should not feel anything more significant than a little pressure or pulling. The sensation is similar to what you might feel during a filling.
Once the area is numbed, tools are used to remove and reshape the gum tissue around the teeth. Gum tissue on adjacent teeth is treated at the same time as necessary. Crown lengthening may be performed using a drill, laser or combination of both. Once the tissue has been removed, stitches are placed to facilitate healing and help the gum retain its new shape during the healing process.
What Happens Next?
After the crown lengthening appointment, there may be some localized swelling and mild pain. The area will be packed with a dressing that might feel a little uncomfortable at first. Discomfort from the procedure is generally treated with ice and mild pain relievers. You may want to limit activity for the rest of the day. As with many dental procedures, patients are advised to stick to soft bland foods and avoid alcohol for the first 48 hours to ease discomfort and speed healing.
About a week after the procedure you’ll return to have the stitches removed, and another follow visit may be suggested. If the reason for the procedure was to create more surface area for a new crown to adhere to, you’ll need to wait approximately 2-3 months before the crown can be placed.
The reason for needing to wait is because as the gum tissue heals, it may shrink. Placing the crown before healing is complete will compromise the integrity of the crown and the base may become exposed.
Dental Care You Can Trust
We know that any dental procedure can cause stress and anxiety. We’re here to make the experience has easy and pain-free as possible. Crown lengthening is a common procedure with great results. If you have questions about crown lengthening or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact Specialty Dental Care P.C.. We’re here to help.