What Is Crown Lengthening And What Does It Involve?

Dentist Blog

Crown lengthening is commonly performed to prepare a tooth for cosmetic or restorative procedures. It can also be used to correct a "gummy smile" in which the teeth appear too short due to excessive gum tissue coverage. According to Everyday Health Media, crown lengthening can be costly, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, although most insurance companies will pick up some of the cost. Learn more about crown lengthening, what it involves, and what types of oral health problems it can rectify.

What Crown Lengthening Involves

Crown lengthening involves the removal of gum tissue and/or bone to expose more of a tooth's structure. It is often performed when a tooth requires restoration, but there isn't enough tooth structure above the gum line to fully support a crown or filling. This can occur when a crown or filling falls out of the tooth and there is decay underneath or when a tooth breaks off at the gum line.

When used to correct a gummy smile, crown lengthening involves removing excess gum tissue to reveal the tooth structure underneath. Removing some of the gum tissue allows you to see more of the tooth, which gives the illusion of longer teeth. When you smile, less gum will also show, providing a more aesthetically-pleasing smile. Consult with your dentist if you desire to correct your gummy smile, as other options may also be available to you.

How Crown Lengthening is Performed

Crown lengthening is performed under local anesthesia. How long the procedure takes will primarily depend on the number of teeth that require treatment. Even if you only need one tooth treated, your dentist may recommend lengthening teeth on either side to allow for the tissues to be reshaped gradually. If only tissues are removed, the procedure will take a shorter time than if both tissues and bone are removed.

During the procedure, your dentist will make incisions that cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Doing so will expose the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone. In many cases, only a small amount of gum tissue will require removal to expose enough tooth structure to allow the dentist to properly place a filling or crown. In some cases, the dentist will also need to remove some bone from around the tooth roots.

Once enough gum tissue has been removed, the surgical site will be washed with sterile salt water. Next, the gum tissues will be stitched back together at the incision sites. Bandages may be placed over the stitches to prevent bacteria from entering the wounds. Your dentist may prescribe with you pain medication to relieve any discomfort caused by the procedure, as well as a chlorhexidine mouth rinse.

What Follow-Up Should Include

Recovery time after crown lengthening varies depending on how much gum tissue is removed and how many teeth are treated. For the first several hours following the procedure, apply ice to your face over the area of the treated tooth. Ice therapy helps with pain relief and reduces swelling. Schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist one to two weeks after the procedure to remove the stitches in your mouth.

It takes several months for the gums to fully heal after crown lengthening and before a final crown can be put on your tooth. It's not uncommon for the gums to shrink during the healing process. After the procedure, some individuals may notice that their teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold, due to the exposed tooth roots. This sensitivity will usually go away in time. For more information about crown lengthening, contact your dental professional. Click here for info about cosmetic dentistry.


7 August 2014

Loving Your Smile

Do you remember the last time you looked at your smile and really loved what you saw? A few years ago I started spending more time analyzing my appearance, and I noticed that my teeth were seriously lacking. I knew that I had to do something to improve the situation, so I began focusing on loving my smile by getting some work done. I started talking with a dentist about how he could help, and it was really incredible to see the simple difference that he was able to make. Within a few years, my smile looked and felt completely different, and I was really pleased with the results. Check out this blog for great information on making your smile more beautiful.