Crown lengthening is a common dental procedure sometimes necessary prior to placing a crown to repair a deep cavity, or even for cosmetic purposes. While it’s technically considered a surgery, the process is actually fairly simple. During crown lengthening, a tiny portion of the gums is removed in order to expose more of a tooth’s natural surface.
It’s no surprise the idea of gum surgery often makes patients very nervous, as it sounds painful. Just remember, periodontists can successfully ensure patient comfort through the use of anesthesia.
While anesthesia can help manage discomfort during the procedure, good oral care during recovery is also important for healing as quickly as possible. Below, we’ll go into more detail about what to expect during crown lengthening surgery as well as the steps you can take to help support the healing process.
What Should I Expect During Crown Lengthening Surgery?
To determine whether crown lengthening surgery is necessary, your periodontist will conduct diagnostic testing including dental x-rays to examine the gums and bone. In order to place a crown, a dentist needs to be able to work with at least 2 millimeters of a tooth’s surface area. Once your provider determines if crown lengthening is necessary, you’ll likely return to the office in a couple of weeks for surgery.
During crowd lengthening, your provider will make every attempt to ensure you’re comfortable. Patients typically receive a local anesthetic; however, if significant crown lengthening is required, you may want to discuss other sedation methods. Depending on the type of anesthesia used, you may not be able to drive yourself home from the procedure. As a result, you’ll want to arrange transportation ahead of time. Always check with your periodontist on whether alternative transportation is required.
Once the procedure is underway, your provider will carefully remove gum tissue around the gumline using a scalpel or laser. In some cases, your periodontist may perform gum flap surgery (making an incision and lifting a flap of tissue). It may sound uncomfortable, but the local anesthesia helps ensure patients don’t feel any pain.
Procedure times vary based on the health of the gums, the number of teeth involved, as well as the proximity and appearance of the root. However, you can expect the surgery to take anywhere from one to two hours on average. You’ll want to be sure to wear comfortable clothing during surgery, as you may be sitting for an extended period of time.
Healing And Recovery After Crown Lengthening
After the anesthesia wears off, patients are likely to experience mild pain and discomfort as well as minor bleeding. This is all normal and should subside after a few days. In the first 24 hours, the surgery area will be very sensitive as the roots of your teeth will be exposed. The pain will subside naturally as the area heals or when you receive a crown.
Before you leave the office, your periodontist will provide post-procedure recovery instructions necessary to promote healing. Here are some of the items that will likely be on the list:
- Avoid any strenuous activities or intense workouts for three days after surgery
- Take ibuprofen or Tylenol as needed to help manage pain
- Take any prescribed antibiotics (if necessary)
- Apply an icepack to the mouth or jaw area to reduce swelling
- Avoid hot or cold solid foods for 24 to 48 hours after surgery
- Practice good oral hygiene — brush carefully, but avoid aggressively rinsing your mouth
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol
While crowd lengthening surgery is simple, it is a significant oral surgery, so the recovery time can be lengthy. The average patient fully recovers in two to three months. However, you can expect to return to normal activities just a few days after surgery.
During recovery, keep an eye out for signs of infection, excessive bleeding, swelling that won’t subside, or swollen lymph nodes as these could be signs of complications. Your periodontist will likely want you to return to the office for one or two follow-up appointments to ensure everything is healing appropriately.
Crown lengthening is an important dental procedure because it helps ensure successful placement of a dental crown. The best way to ensure the surgery goes as smoothly as possible is by visiting an experienced periodontist. If you’re seeking crown lengthening surgery in the Central Florida area, make Ormond Beach Perio your top choice. Dr. Stuart Beauchamp is not only experienced, he prioritizes patient comfort and safety above all else. Give us a call today at 386-672-9440.