Crown lengthening is the removal of gum tissue and supportive alveolar bone in order to expose the underlying dental structure. In some cases, this procedure may be done for purely cosmetic reasons.
Some patients are unhappy with the “gummy” appearance of their smiles, and crown lengthening enables us to reshape the gums to expose more of the patient’s underlying dental structure. However, crown lengthening, as the name implies, is most often used as a preparatory measure before placing a dental crown.
Prior to the crown-lengthening procedure, patients meet with doctor for a consultation and preparation appointment. Advanced digital radiography is used to capture a full image of your internal and external structures.
Infected or damaged portions of teeth are removed in preparation for the crown, inlay, onlay, or filling that necessitated the lengthening procedure. If the tooth or teeth are in need of a crown, a temporary may be utilized in order to protect the prepared teeth, and provide a guide for the dentist with regard to how much gum and bone tissues need to be removed for ideal results. Then we’ll schedule your surgical procedure.
The procedure itself varies in length of time and discomfort based on the number of teeth involved. Even if only a single tooth is in need of repair, the gum and bone tissues that support surrounding teeth may be removed in order to make the change less noticeable.
If only gum tissue needs to be removed, the doctor carefully cuts away the tissue and use stitches or bandages in order to allow the gums to heal. The removal of supportive alveolar bone requires more time and invasive surgery.
Regardless of whether one or both types of tissue are removed, patients need to wait three months or more for the tissue to heal before a final crown will be placed.
Follow-Up and Crown Placement
Following treatment, patients will care for their healing smiles with pain medication and an antimicrobial oral rinse. Carefully brush the teeth themselves, but avoid the area where the gum or bone tissue was removed until the site is healed.
We recommend using a water irrigator, tooth pick, or clean damp cloth, to remove food or debris. After one to two weeks, the patient can have the stitches removed, and progress checked. Once the surgical site has healed, patients return to receive their final restoration.