In connection with placing new dental crowns or restoring/replacing old ones, here are the main situations in which crown lengthening may become necessary:
- Your gum line is too high and would interfere with the proper function of the crown or cause it to have a poor appearance.
- You need to get a filling for a cavity below the gums first before installing the dental crown on the top of the same tooth.
- Your existing dental crown has fallen off, come loose, or has tooth decay underneath it.
Also, note that you may have to lengthen the crown (shorten the gums) on adjacent teeth even if only one tooth actually needs it for the reasons stated above. This is especially true of front teeth since you want an even, gradual gum line instead of a sudden shift.
How Does Crown Lengthening Work?
You need at least three millimeters of space between the top of your gums and the bottom of your new dental crown in order to maintain optimal gum health and tooth health.
Your periodontist will give you a local anesthetic and maybe oral dental sedation to control the pain. He will then separate the gums from the tooth root to the necessary depth and cut away the excess gum tissue to expose the proper amount of tooth surface.
In most cases, it will also be necessary to remove a small amount of bone tissue from around where the tooth root connects to your alveolar ridge, which is the part of your jawbone that teeth are naturally rooted into.
Your periodontist will need to ensure that the gums are set at the right level, that enough interdental gingival tissue remains, and that teeth are still firmly planted in the jaw. Finally, a water-saline solution will be used to sterilize the gums, and dental sutures and/or a dental bandage may be used to speed up recovery.
What About The Recovery Process?
Typically, you will wear a temporary crown while your gums heal following crown lengthening. The total recovery process could take 3 months or more, but the main part of it should be complete within a couple of weeks.
You will need to return to have the dental sutures removed after about two weeks unless no sutures were used or they are self-dissolving sutures. After a month or so, you will need a follow-up visit to ensure everything is healing properly. Another visit may be necessary to place a permanent crown.
During recovery, you need to use a special disinfectant mouthwash, avoid brushing and flossing still-tender gum tissue, and follow any other instructions your periodontist may give you. Temporarily, you will want to use pain relievers, stay on a soft diet, and use ice or heat packs to alleviate any swelling.
To learn more about how crown lengthening works and whether it is right for you, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Central Florida today!