What’s the Scoop on Crown Lengthening?

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Crown lengthening is a common procedure done under local anesthesia to remove or reshape gum tissue, bone (or both) to expose more of the remaining tooth or teeth. It can be performed on one or more teeth on the gum line. This treatment is often recommended if you have a “gummy smile” where your teeth look shorter because of excess gum tissue covering your teeth. Once this excess gum tissue is removed, your tooth structure will look like a normal tooth.

Crown lengthening may also be done to support a dental filling or crown, or if you have a tooth that is broken near the gum line. This treatment can also be used if there’s not sufficient tooth structure available for a needed restoration such as a dental crown or bridge. It reveals more of the tooth so lengthening can be performed. It’s also helpful when there is leftover decay from a missing crown or filling.

The time length of this procedure can vary depending on how many teeth are being treated. It also depends on whether soft tissue and bone material are removed or reshaped around the roots. Even if one tooth is the objective, the neighboring teeth may also need to have some tissue removed. Incisions will be made in the gum area to allow the tissue to be pulled back from the teeth, revealing the tooth roots and supporting bone material.

Once the treatment is done and the numbing anesthetic wears off, you may take prescribed pain medication to treat any discomfort post-surgery and possibly antibiotics to prevent infection from developing. To facilitate the healing process, you may be prescribed an oral rinse to use.

Initially, you may experience sensitivity to temperature extremes, such as hot or cold foods and beverages. Mainly because now more of the tooth is exposed. Keep an eye out for excessive bleeding at the site where the incision was performed as well as infection. If you find yourself with a fever, excessive swelling, pain or discharge from the surgical site, please contact us right away. You may have an infection and antibiotics can help treat it. Once the site is fully healed, generally several months after the crown lengthening, your permanent crown or filling will be placed if needed.

If you have a short tooth, severe tooth decay underneath the gum line, or a tooth that is fractured and broken off under the gum line, you may benefit from a crown lengthening treatment.

Also, if you need to have future restorative work performed such as crowns, veneers or fillings, this gum treatment can give you the appealing length of gums around the teeth to create optimal symmetry at your gum line. If you have any questions for our team, give us a call today. We look forward to helping you with your oral care needs!