We need strong teeth in order to effectively carry out basic day-to-day functions such as eating and speaking. However, teeth can often break, crack, decay, or weaken for numerous reasons. Decay and other issues aren’t just limited to the visible portion of the tooth — problems can emerge underneath the gumline.
In order to stabilize your affected tooth or treat the underlying problem, your dental provider may need to expose more of the tooth’s visible surface through a crown lengthening procedure. This procedure may be required for a few different reasons. Below, we’ll tell you all about crown lengthening procedures and when they might be necessary for you.
What Is A Crown Lengthening Procedure?
Crown lengthening helps to reshape your gums to expose more of the tooth’s surface and extend its length. The procedure is very common and can usually be done in under an hour. During your office visit, your periodontist will recontour your gum line using a special tool. An incision will be made and the gums will be pulled away from the teeth. The area will be thoroughly cleaned and sutured back together. Patients are usually able to go home right away.
You shouldn’t feel much pain or discomfort during the procedure. Your dentist or periodontist will apply a local anesthetic beforehand, but other pain management options, such as anesthesia or sedation dentistry might be available depending on your provider. You should not hesitate to ask about additional options if you’re anxious about the procedure.
Afterward, you may experience pain, swelling, bleeding, and discomfort, but you should be able to manage with ibuprofen and an ice pack. Full recovery time can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, and it’s different for everyone. Recovery ultimately depends on the size of the incision and how much of the gum tissue was pulled back or removed. However, you’ll be able to resume normal eating after a few days.
During the recovery period, you should avoid hot, spicy, and solid foods and alcohol. You should not smoke for at least 10 days and avoid strenuous activity for at least 3 days. In some cases, a dressing may be applied to your gums, and you might need to periodically change it. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent infection during the healing period. Be sure to follow your provider’s instructions to help reduce your recovery time.
When Is A Crown Lengthening Procedure Necessary?
There are many situations where crown lengthening might be required or recommended, but here are the three most common scenarios:
- To Support A Crown
As its name might suggest, the most common reason for a crown lengthening procedure is to support a crown. If a tooth is chipped, damaged, or weak, a crown is a simple dental restoration procedure that can easily solve the issue. A crown is a cap secured around the top of the tooth which provides additional stability. However, your tooth must be long enough to support the crown. If it isn’t, your gums may need to be gently lifted back in order to expose more of your tooth.
- To Treat Issues Underneath The Gums
Tooth decay and other problems aren’t always visible. They can actually occur underneath the gum line. If this is the case, a crown lengthening procedure may be necessary to expose and treat the affected area of the tooth. Pulling back the gums can also allow for better oral hygiene and comfort.
- To Resolve Excessive Gingival Display
Crown lengthening can also be done for cosmetic purposes, like resolving excessive gingival display, which is sometimes referred to as a “gummy smile”. This is when patients have a significant amount of gum tissue that appears above their top teeth when smiling. This can be resolved by recontouring the gum line to expose more of your teeth.
If you’re looking to improve or sustain your long-term oral health, a crown lengthening procedure might be necessary. However, when you choose an experienced practice that prioritizes comfort and offers sedation dentistry solutions, you don’t have to worry about a thing. The process is very easy and common, and it leads to great results. Contact us today at Ormond Beach Perio to schedule your consultation with Dr. Stuart Beauchamp.