Crown lengthening is a common surgical procedure in which the dental surgeon removes a small amount of gum tissue, bone or both in order to better expose more of a tooth. This procedure may be required for restorative purposes or a patient may request it for esthetic purposes.
For restorative purposes, there may not be enough of the tooth sticking out above the gum line in order to support a filling or crown. This is commonly seen when a tooth breaks off at or right above the gum line. It can also happen when a crown or filling falls out due to underlying decay. To place a filling or crown, your dentist may need more exposure of the tooth, which is where a crown lengthening procedure comes in. Esthetically, crown lengthening may be used to improve an over-excessive appearance of gum in a smile which can make the teeth appear short and be displeasing to the eye.
What to expect
The procedure requires the use of a local anesthesia, and the length of treatment depends on the number of teeth that need treatment. Keep in mind that even if only one tooth will be lengthened, this procedure also includes neighboring teeth in order to allow the tissue to be reshaped in a more gradual manner.
In order to expose the roots of the teeth and surrounding bone, cuts will be made to pull the gums away from the teeth. Once there is enough exposed tooth, the surgical area will be disinfected with sterile salt water and the gums will be stitched back together. Following your dentist’s post-operative care instructions is extremely important. You’ll be expected to follow a soft food diet, avoid brushing near the gum line, use a special mouth rinse, and take pain relievers.