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What is crown lengthening?

Jan 23, 2023Oral health, oral surgery

What is crown lengthening?

There are several different types of crown lengthening procedures that are used. In order to expose more of the surface of your tooth, a crown lengthening procedure is designed to reshape your gums at the base of your affected tooth. If necessary, adjust the bone level of the tooth in order to extend the height or size of the visible part of the tooth so that the new restoration has enough surface area to hold it in place if needed.

The purpose of a crown lengthening procedure

Crown lengthening may be necessary when there is insufficient tooth structure remaining to ensure a secure placement for the crown. Teeth that are broken or affected by tooth decay may not have sufficient support material in place for a successful attachment of the crown.

Crown lengthening is a periodontal procedure that involves the removal of excess gum tissue and bone in order to reveal more of the tooth structure above the gum line. This allows a crown to be properly fitted, promoting improved oral hygiene and greater comfort.

Crown lengthening is a procedure sought by some individuals wishing to reduce the visibility of their gums when smiling, referred to as a “gummy smile“.


How does crown lengthening work?

Your dental surgeon may provide you with a temporary crown to cover and protect your tooth until you are able to receive your permanent crown. This temporary solution can help make the fitting of your new crown easier.

Prior to your surgery, you will have a consultation with the periodontist so that you may provide a full medical history and confirm the X-ray results. It is important to discuss any medications you are currently taking during this appointment; your surgeon will advise whether any should be discontinued before the procedure.


Advantages of crown lengthening

Crown lengthening can provide cosmetic improvements to a smile by lengthening short teeth. This procedure offers individuals an opportunity to gain the confidence associated with having a desirable smile.

In addition, crown lengthening makes it much easier for people to maintain good oral hygiene. The chances of developing gum disease or tooth complications are greatly reduced if you are able to practice good oral hygiene. Short teeth are hard to brush and floss, while teeth with longer crowns are easier to care for.


Disadvantages of crown lengthening

Crown lengthening provides a number of advantages; however, it is important to consider potential drawbacks before making any decisions.

Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure that can be expensive, similar to most other surgical procedures. Insurance may cover the costs for medical reasons, however, for cosmetic purposes, it usually will not be covered.

It is important to note that there are potential risks associated with undergoing surgery, such as excessive bleeding, pain in the gums, and heightened sensitivity; however, these side effects typically do not persist longer than a week.


Why Would I Need Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including:

Restoring your damaged teeth
Trauma, decay, and periodontal disease can lead to damage of your teeth. To correct this damage, a crown lengthening procedure may be recommended to prepare the impaired area for restoration.

Cosmetically enhances your appearance
Having a gummy smile can cause the appearance of having short teeth. Crown lengthening is a procedure that removes extra gum tissue, resulting in a more balanced, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Supports your dental crowns
If you have short teeth, crown lengthening may be an available option to create a longer tooth structure for the placement of a dental crown. Crown lengthening can also provide an adequate space between your jawbone and the dental crown, allowing it to fit securely. Additionally, this dental treatment reduces the risk of the crown damaging gum tissue and bone once placed.

A Periodontist may recommend a crown lengthening procedure to provide adequate support for a dental crown or tooth bridge. This procedure can be necessary for a few reasons, such as when there is insufficient tooth structure available for a recommended treatment.

  • It is possible that your tooth may have broken off at the gumline.
  • It has been noted that the gumline has extended too far along the tooth for it to receive the necessary restorative treatment.
  • Unfortunately, the structure of your teeth is not suitable for restoration.
  • There may be decay in a tooth underneath a crown or filling that has fallen off.


Possible risks and complications

The procedure carries potential risks, including:

Bleeding: If a patient experiences excessive bleeding or bleeding that does not appear to be subsiding, it is essential for them to contact the periodontist as soon as possible for further evaluation.

Infection: Patients should be aware of signs and symptoms of post-surgical infection, such as increasing pain, severe swelling, and discharge from the area. If any of these symptoms present, it is important to return to the dentist’s clinic immediately.

Tooth sensitivity: It is common for tooth sensitivity to occur as a result of the procedure, as the root of the tooth becomes exposed. However, this sensitivity may lessen or even be eliminated over time.

A crown lengthening procedure may have some long-term complications or implications.


Aftercare and Recovery

After undergoing a crown lengthening procedure, it is likely that your gums will require several months for full healing. While most of your daily activities can be resumed soon after surgery, it is important to adhere to aftercare instructions from your provider in order to ensure optimal recovery.

The following things should be done immediately after surgery:

  • It is recommended to use an ice pack for 20 minutes intermittently on the day of your surgery to help minimize any swelling.
  • To minimize the risk of excessive bleeding, it is recommended to refrain from consuming hot foods and beverages.
  • It is advised to refrain from engaging in strenuous activities for the first 48-72 hours.

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure used to create a better fit with restorations like crowns, bridges, and veneers. It also helps with the treatment of periodontal issues. Not only does it improve the cosmetic appearance of your smile, but it can also improve the overall health of your gums. Crown lengthening is safe, and can be done painlessly with an aesthetic approach. Talk to your dentist to find out if crown lengthening is right for you.

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