An Introduction to Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is used to expose more of the tooth for a variety of reasons. This includes eliminating the “gummy” look, as well as ensuring that fillings and crowns have enough support. In order to make crowns appear longer, gum tissue and bone are removed. This surgery is fairly common.

Crown Lengthening: Why is Procedure Performed?

If a tooth breaks at the gumline, crown lengthening will expose more of the tooth. This, in turn will make it possible to place a crown over the tooth, as opposed to removing it and installing an implant. When decay sets in under a filling, your dentist may also need to use crown lengthening procedures to stabilise the the tooth.

As you may be aware, some people have extra gum tissue. This usually occurs around the upper teeth. Typically, exposing more of each tooth will help make gums look smaller, and thus eliminate “gummy smiles”.

Crown Lengthening: Patient Concerns to be Addressed

Prior to crown lengthening, you may need a thorough tooth cleaning. You will also need to visit a periodontist, and have x-rays taken. After examining your medical history, the periodontist will most likely schedule you for surgery.

Crown Lengthening: How is Procedure Performed?

Most crown lengthening procedures require local anaesthesia. As may be expected, more time will be required if multiple teeth are being treated. It will also take longer if bone has to be removed in addition to gum tissue. Because crown lengthening involves changing the shape of the gums, adjacent teeth will also be affected by the procedure. In most cases, your dentist will try to reshape the gums as gradually as possible. Typically, if you already have temporary crowns, they will be removed prior to reshaping the gums, and then replaced upon completion.

At the start of the procedure, your periodontist will cut into the gum, and pull it away from the teeth. Once the bone and tooth roots are exposed, your dentist will decide whether or not it is necessary to remove some of the bone. If your dentist can get by with removing just a little bit of gum tissue, he/she will most likely place a temporary crown over the tooth. After washing the site with sterile saline, your gums will be stitched back together. In some cases, your dentist may also place a bandage over the surgical site.

For most people, it takes about three months for your mouth to heal. Once the site is ready for additional work, your dentist will make a second temporary crown to fit the longer tooth. Since your gums may continue to shrink during the healing process, your dentist will wait a bit before creating the permanent crown.

Crown Lengthening: Post-Operative Concerns

In order to reduce post-operative swelling, you will need to use ice for the first two days. You will also need to use a mouth rinse, and follow a soft diet. It may also be necessary to use pain reliever during this time. After 7 - 10 days, you will need to go back to the periodontist to have the stitches removed. Your periodontist may also want to see you again in 4 - 6 weeks in order to make sure that everything is going smoothly.

As may be expected, you will still need to follow proper oral hygiene after crown lengthening. While you can brush your teeth near the stitches, it is important to avoid brushing the gums. If you are trying to deal with food particles, it is best to remove them with a water irrigator or a toothpick.

Crown Lengthening: Perils of Disease

As with any other surgery, the crown lengthening site may bleed for a while. You may also develop an infection. Since root tissue is exposed during crown lengthening, your teeth may become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. In most cases, this sensitivity will subside on its own, or after you receive a permanent crown.

It is very important to check with your dentist if bleeding does not stop, or you have extensive pain. If you think the site is infected, or you notice discharge or swelling, you should call your dentist immediately. You should also check for lymph node swelling in you blower jaw and neck. In addition, you should also let your dentist know if the bandage falls off or becomes loose.

If you only have one tooth lengthened, it may look longer than others around it. In addition, you may notice that this tooth will be looser, and more inclined to fall out. Unfortunately, if a lenghtneed tooth does fall out, it may be ahrder to replace.