For some patients, a crown lengthening procedure will be part of a custom-tailored treatment plan developed to resolve a dental problem.
This procedure is performed to improve gum tissue health, or to prepare the area for a restoration or for a cosmetic enhancement. Crown lengthening is also commonly used to treat patients who wish to correct the appearance of a “gummy” smile, caused by excess tissue covering too much of the tooth.
Crown lengthening works to reveal more of the natural tooth through a process that reshapes or recontours both gum and bone, and may be an appropriate treatment for a single tooth or several teeth, or the complete gum line, depending upon the unique issues of the patient. After the procedure is complete, the patient will have a more aesthetically pleasing smile, without excess gum tissue.
How Does a Crown Lengthening Procedure Work?
Every person has a unique situation they are trying to resolve. In some cases, more of the tooth structure needs to be exposed so a restoration (such as a crown or an implant) can be placed. Generally, the procedure involves the following steps:
- The area to be treated is numbed with local anesthetic.
- Crowns in the area to be treated will be removed, to be replaced after treatment.
- Small incisions are made around the soft tissue where the gum meets the tooth, to separate them. This provides access to the tooth root and underlying bone structure.
- A small amount of tissue is removed in some cases, providing sufficient room to place a crown. In other cases, a very small amount of bone will be removed from around the teeth. Hand instruments are used for this procedure.
- After completion, the tooth or teeth treated appear longer, as the gum tissue has been reshaped.
- The site is then secured with a special bandaging material that helps to prevent the onset of infection.
- You may be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics, as well as a special mouthwash to reduce bacteria growth while healing. It will require two to three months for the area to be completely healed.