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Crown Lengthening: The What And The Why

You may be aware that periodontal surgery can help restore a badly receding gum line, but perhaps less known is the fact that your periodontist can also correct an excessively high gum line through the procedure called crown lengthening.
And although the term is crown lengthening, it doesn’t really change the length of your crowns, but only how long they appear to be. That is, it corrects a “gummy smile.”

Why Is Crown Lengthening Done?
Often, crown lengthening is done simply for aesthetic reasons. Typically it’s the upper jaw that has “too much” gum tissue, making your teeth seem small. But whether upper jaw, lower jaw, or both, this can be corrected by crown lengthening.

Secondly, this procedure may be done because it is more difficult to exercise good dental hygiene when your gums are crowding around and between your teeth.

Third and most commonly, your crowns will be “lengthened” in order to enable another dental procedure such as putting in a filling, capping a tooth with a dental crown, installing a bridge, or fixing a cracked or decayed tooth when the affected region lies below the gum line.

How Is Crown Lengthening Done?
The crown lengthening process is a reshaping of your gum tissue, either around just one tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth. In some cases, excessive bone tissue may also be removed from around a tooth as part of the surgery.

After an X-ray and a review of your dental and medical history, you will need to get your teeth cleaned in preparation for the procedure. Then a local anesthetic and, if requested, dental sedation will be administered.

To protect a damaged tooth that will ultimately be crowned, your periodontist will cap it with a temporary crown during the surgery.

How much gum tissue needs to be removed or re-positioned will vary greatly, and this will affect how long the procedure takes. If any bone tissue must be removed, that will also make the process take longer. But it will still only be a matter or hours, at most.

To finish off, your mouth will be rinsed with sterilized salt water, and dental sutures and bandages may be needed as well. You will likely be prescribed some pain relief medications; and your periodontist will instruct you to take care in brushing and to follow a specific diet until your gums have fully healed (which takes up to 3 months.)

Follow Up Care
As mentioned above, you will be given instructions on caring for your gums during the healing process. Also note that you may need to use a cold pack during the hours just following surgery to keep down swelling.

And note that your gums will still look a little big because they will naturally shrink down some as they heal. That has all been taken into account by your periodontist.

After a week or so, you will need to go back to have the stitches taken out (if any were used.) And then, you will likely have another follow up visit in four to six weeks to ensure all is healing properly. After the three months, you would have a permanent dental crown installed in place of any temporary crown.

Crown lengthening is a very common dental surgery that is done both for aesthetic reasons and to make other dental procedures possible. To learn more about it, contact periodontist Dr. Kenzik in Ormond Beach, FL, today!

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Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is conveniently located on Nova Road in Ormond Beach, Florida. We help seniors, adults, and teenagers smile with confidence.

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