There are a few different reasons why a crown lengthening may be done; if you have been recommended for this dental procedure, you may be wondering why, and what you can expect both during and after your treatment. Continue reading for more information about the crown lengthening procedure.
Aesthetic Purposes (Excess Gum Tissue)
Some people feel that they have a “gummy” smile, or that their teeth look too short in comparison with the amount of gum tissue that is visible when they smile. This is something that is easily corrected by a crown lengthening procedure. The truth is that your teeth are not too short; they simply are covered by an excess amount of gum tissue.
Preparation For A Crown
Sometimes, a crown lengthening procedure is needed to ensure that there is enough space for a crown, or a protective cap, to be placed over the tooth. This is usually done when there is an insufficient amount of exposed tooth to support the placement of a crown. In the preparation for a crown, the bone may be shaved back in addition to the removal of gum tissue. This ensures that the tooth has enough structure above the gumline to ensure that the crown will be a perfect fit over the natural tooth, which allows the patient to properly maintain their oral hygiene at home. This helps prevent the crown from failing in the future due to bacteria, damage, or decay managing to occur underneath.
What To Expect During The Procedure
During the procedure, your periodontist will first numb the area to ensure that you feel little to no discomfort while he or she works. They will then proceed to cut to remove the excess gum tissue and expertly sculpt the gumline to reveal a more aesthetically pleasing smile. If necessary, they will shave the bone down. Once they have finished, they will rinse the area with a saline solution to ensure that it is clean before placing sutures (stitches) and dressings. You will then be sent home with some post-operative care instructions, and you will most likely be prescribed some sort of pain relief medication to ensure that you are not in pain once the anesthesia wears off. Your healing will be closely monitored over the next few weeks, and you will return for a post-op appointment for your periodontist to ensure that everything has healed as expected. If he or she placed traditional sutures that do not dissolve on their own, they will usually remove the sutures during your post-op appointment. During your healing period, you will be asked to observe the following instructions:
- Avoid extreme hot or cold food and beverage
- Use ice packs as needed
- Take medication as prescribed
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Keep a diet of mainly soft foods, if possible
- Avoid the use of straws
- Leave the dressings in unless otherwise instructed
The crown lengthening procedure is relatively simple, and should not take a large amount of time. Follow your periodontist’s instructions at Willow Glen Dental Specialists (WGDS) during your healing period to ensure that the area heals as quickly as possible.