If your dentist has recommended a crown lengthening procedure from a periodontist, you are not alone. While many people haven’t heard of crown lengthening before, it is a common treatment and can sometimes be a pre-treatment to having a dental restoration done.
Crown lengthening can take care of a problem where you might have an excess gingival display or a gummy smile. It means your teeth look as if they are too short! But the problem isn’t usually the teeth – they may be just fine – but they look short because you have too much gum tissue partially covering them. It makes the crown, which is the part of the tooth that you can see above the gumline, seem smaller than it is.
Having a dental crown lengthening is often done before placing a restorative or cosmetic dental treatment. If your tooth has extensive decay, is broken under the gum line, or doesn’t have enough structure left to support a dental crown or tooth bridge, a crown lengthening can fix this. Gum tissue, bone, or both will be reshaped when our periodontist performs a crown lengthening so that you can see more of the tooth and make it ready to hold a dental crown or tooth bridge to restore full function.
When you come in for a crown lengthening treatment, our periodontist will reshape the extra gum and bone tissue to allow more visual of the tooth by adjusting the gum and bone levels. By removing excess gum tissue or bone, more of the tooth is exposed so that a dental restoration can be placed. It doesn’t have to be limited to one tooth, either. We can perform this treatment on a single tooth, the gum line, or multiple teeth so that your smile looks natural and beautiful.
A dental crown lengthening can help you if a tooth broke off at the gumline, the structure of a tooth is too weak to support a dental restoration, or your dental crown (or filling) fell off, exposing tooth decay below it.
Dental Crown Lengthening Procedure
Before having a crown lengthening procedure done, your medical history will be reviewed, and X-rays will be taken. To lessen the chances of infection, you may also have professional teeth cleaning beforehand. You might have a temporary crown placed onto the tooth if there is sufficient tooth material to support a dental crown. Next, soft tissue or bone material may be removed.
Once the tooth has healed, your permanent crown can be placed to fit the lengthened tooth structure perfectly. The surgical procedure time can vary, depending on how many teeth are being treated, and whether bone and gum tissue are being taken out and reshaped. Nearby teeth may be treated as well as the “short” tooth. Before the procedure, you will be made comfortable with a sedative and local anesthesia. Full healing can take 6-12 weeks for crown lengthening in the back of the mouth and up to 3-6 months for the front.
Healthy, Beautiful Gums
When it comes to your gums, you will want to keep inflammation away from the gum line that can spread to the bone, holding your teeth in place. It means brushing and flossing daily, using an antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria, and seeing your dentist twice a year for professional dental cleanings and checkups. Early gum disease can spread from gingivitis to periodontitis, then it can eventually turn into advanced periodontitis if not properly taken care of.
If your gums show signs of gum disease – bleeding, swollen, red or tender, pulling away from your teeth, chronic bad breath, loose teeth, or pus around your teeth and gums – you may have gum disease. If you are unhappy with your smile because of gummy teeth, we invite you to call our office to schedule a visit with our periodontist about a crown lengthening treatment. We can help you create a beautiful, healthy-looking smile!