Crown lengthening is a dental procedure wherein a high or excessively full gum line is lowered so that teeth are not hidden and made to look “short.” It can also be done in order to allow your dentist or periodontist room to work on a damaged tooth that is too far beneath the gum line for them to easily access. Thus, this procedure is done either for aesthetic purposes (to correct a “gummy smile”) or for strictly practical reasons.
Evening out your gum line or lowering the whole line can also help in avoiding gum disease. If you already have gum disease, you will need to get it treated first, but lowering a high gum line can help prevent a recurrence, just like raising a too-low gum line can also do.
How Does Crown Lengthening Work?
Your periodontist will need to reshape your gum line to expose a greater portion of your now-hidden natural teeth. It may be only one or two teeth that need attention, or it could be the whole gum line.
But before you get started, you will need some X-rays and a review of your medical and dental history, along with a thorough cleaning for your teeth and gums. Then your dentist will administer a local anesthetic and, if you are anxious and request it, a dental oral sedative (like nitrous oxide.)
When the gums are adjusted for any particular tooth, they must be adjusted on adjacent teeth as well to ensure a seamless transition. Some periodontal tissue may have to be removed, but to a large degree, it may only need to be repositioned.
Your periodontist will need to make incisions so that excess gum tissue can be carefully pulled back from teeth, and it may also be necessary to remove excess bone tissue at the tooth’s root.
Finally, sterilized salt water will be used to wash and disinfect your gums, and sutures and/or dental bandages may need to be used.
What About After the Surgery?
Immediately after the crown lengthening surgery, you should use an ice pack (for a few hours) to reduce any swelling. It can take some time for your gums to heal, so be patient, and you may need to return a week or more later to have the sutures removed.
Also note that gums “shrink” a bit as they heal, so don’t be alarmed if your gum line is a little higher than perfect at first: they will naturally move down to that perfect position as they heal. Don’t be alarmed if your teeth are more sensitive to temperature just after the surgery. The parts of the tooth formerly covered will need time to adjust and get acclimated. The tooth sensitivity should dissipate on its own over time.
Crown lengthening is a relatively common dental procedure that lowers the gum line on one or multiple teeth. It is done to allow your dentist to work on an otherwise hard-to-access tooth or simply to improve your smile.
To learn more about crown lengthening or to set an appointment, in Volusia County, FL, contact Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik today.