If you have a missing tooth and are looking for a solution to your cosmetic dental concerns, crown lengthening may be recommended.
Crown lengthening is not a simple procedure. The removal of gum tissue, often with the aid of local anesthesia, is a long and sometimes uncomfortable process. You may experience swelling, bleeding, tenderness, or soreness. There is also a chance that you may bruise the gums during this surgery. The surgeon will remove some bone, which is another reason that this treatment is typically painful. The results of crown lengthening are permanent, but there is a chance that you may lose some bone that has been removed during the procedure.
You should consult your dentist or periodontist for more information about crown lengthening before you schedule this procedure.
What is Crown Lengthening?
In brief, Crown lengthening is a surgery that lengthens the length of your upper teeth to make them appear longer and more even.
During this treatment, your dentist may remove excess gum tissue, and possibly some bone, from around the upper teeth. This can help to even out uneven gum lines and create an appearance that looks more natural and symmetrical.
Crown lengthening is most commonly performed by dentists, periodontists, or oral surgeons. Dentists frequently perform this standard procedure. If the gum line is uneven, crown lengthening can sculpt the gum line to produce a more symmetrical smile. Crown lengthening may also be performed for other dental reasons.
For example, crown lengthening may be necessary to support the installation of a crown. A dental crown, or cap, may be required due to a cracked or damaged tooth. Untreated cavities frequently become too large to be corrected with a filling, leaving you in the position of needing a dental crown. Additionally, crowns can also cover misshapen or discolored teeth.
Advantages of Crown Lengthening
When you have crown lengthening, there are a few benefits.
- Looks Good: Crown lengthening can give your smile an even appearance and help to make it appear more natural. This is because crown lengthening removes excess gum tissue from around your teeth. This makes your upper teeth appear longer and more even. You may notice this if you have a long face, as some people can have longer upper teeth than their lower teeth. After crown lengthening, you may see that this is no longer the case.
- No Pain: A major benefit of crown lengthening is that it is painless. The removal of excess gum tissue and possibly some bone does not involve the nerves of the mouth. It also does not require anesthesia.
- Easier to Clean: You will also find that crown lengthening makes your teeth easier to clean. This is because the gums are removed from around your teeth. This makes it much easier to remove plaque and bacteria. This is a particularly important benefit for those who have a difficult time cleaning their teeth on a regular basis.
- More Secure: Crown lengthening is performed in a way that helps to provide a more stable smile.
- Increased smile harmony: Crown lengthening can help to create a more balanced smile, where the upper teeth appear to match the lower teeth.
- Saved money: If your upper teeth have been crooked or out of alignment for years, crown lengthening may help to straighten them. When the crown is bonded onto the tooth, it can help to strengthen and stabilize the tooth and prevent further deterioration.
- Increased confidence: After having your upper teeth lengthened, you will notice that your smile will appear longer and more even. This results in a more natural and confident appearance.
Your dentist will often recommend crown lengthening if you have:
- Uneven gum lines
- Uneven spacing between teeth
- Misshapen or discolored teeth
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Uneven-looking teeth
When a tooth has a cavity, it may be too large to be filled with a filling. This leaves you with little choice but to have the tooth capped with a crown. A dental crown is an artificial cap that is attached to the tooth and makes the tooth look more natural. In addition, crowns can help to protect the tooth from further deterioration, help stabilize the tooth, and provide additional support for the tooth.
If you have a tooth that needs a crown and you have tried all other options, including a root canal, crown lengthening may be a viable option for you. Crown lengthening may also be recommended if you have uneven or misshapen teeth, if your tooth is broken or cracked, or if you have a tooth that has been affected by trauma.
Crown lengthening may be done to improve your smile in a variety of ways. This procedure may help to increase your confidence, enhance your smile, and increase your smile harmony. Your dentist will likely recommend crown lengthening if he or she determines that it will benefit your smile.
crown lengthening techniques:
When crown lengthening is used, it is typically referred to as “crown-lengthening.” Some dentists use this term for any dental procedure that makes the upper teeth longer than the lower teeth. Other dentists prefer to use the term “gum-lengthening” because the gums are also removed when crown lengthening is performed. There are three primary ways that crown lengthening can be performed:
GUM ONLY (Gingivectomy):
Crown lengthening may be performed on the gum tissue only. This is the most common technique and can be performed on most patients. This involves removing only the gums and possibly some bone from around the upper tooth. The gum tissue is then sutured back into place, and the area of gum tissue removed is recessed.
BONE REMOVAL (Flap Surgery):
When tooth structure is removed, it leaves an opening for bacteria to enter the gums, which can cause infection or inflammation. This is a more invasive procedure than gum-only crown lengthening and requires a longer healing period.
GUM AND BONE REMOVAL (Surgical Extrusion):
This technique may involve removing both the gum tissue and bone. This can make a significant improvement in the appearance of your teeth. Because this method leaves more space for gum and bone to fill in after surgery, it typically results in a more natural look.
Some factors that can influence the choice of the technique include:
- Location: The location and appearance of the affected teeth
- Gums: The amount of excess gum tissue
- Comfort: Your preference and comfort level
- Time: The amount of time required for the procedure
- Damage: Whether you have existing damage to your gums and/or bone
- Age: Crown-lengthening techniques are generally used on younger patients. Crown lengthening may be performed before you’ve had any teeth loss.
- Gingival health: If you have gingivitis or gingival recession, crown lengthening may be necessary to remove the excess gum tissue before crowns are placed.
- Number of crowns needed: A crown that is larger in size than a crown that is more conservative may be more expensive.
Crown Lengthening Procedure (Step by Step):
Anesthesia: If you are having gum-only crown lengthening, you will likely receive a local anesthetic and possibly a sedative. The procedure will typically last for one to two hours, depending on the number of teeth that require crown lengthening. The procedure may take longer if you are also having other dental procedures done at the same time. The doctor will discuss your dental needs with you before the procedure and determine whether you would benefit from additional anesthesia during the procedure.
Gum/Bone Removal: If you have gum and bone removal, the procedure will be slightly different from gum-only crown lengthening. You will likely receive anesthesia and possibly a sedative during this procedure. The entire gums will be removed, as well as the bone and gum tissue around the teeth that will be lengthened.
Suturing: Once the gums have been removed, they will be sutured back into place. The tissue that has been removed will then be recessed to create a more natural appearance.
Placement of Temporary Crowns: Your dentist will probably recommend that you have temporary crowns placed after crown lengthening to protect the area where the gums were removed and to allow you to comfortably eat and drink for up to two weeks.
Aftercare & Recovery:
After the procedure, you may experience some soreness and swelling in your gums. You may also have bleeding from the gums. You will likely be instructed to avoid hot and spicy foods and medications that may cause bleeding.
Your dentist will give you medication to control any bleeding after the procedure. After about a week, you will start to see your new, longer smile. You may experience discomfort and tenderness when biting or chewing.
However, these symptoms usually resolve over a short period of time. If you have any bleeding from the area where the gums were removed, your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to help prevent infection.
It’s important to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed because they can cause side effects such as diarrhea, stomach upset, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and/or fever. The wound will heal within about two weeks. You may need to continue taking antibiotics for another month or two. Your dentist will discuss when you can resume normal activities.
You will probably be able to return to work after about a week. You should be able to go back to brushing your teeth and flossing every day to keep your new, longer smile in top shape. Crown lengthening is a fairly common oral surgery treatment.
- Avoid hot or spicy foods.
- Limit the amount of liquid you drink in the first few days after crown lengthening.
- Stay away from heavy meals for a few days.
- Avoid using your mouth for more than 15 minutes at a time.
- Use a soft toothbrush and gentle, circular motion.
Have a smile that’s bright and beautiful A crown lengthening procedure can make your smile look longer and more natural. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that can improve the appearance of a smile. To help prevent further damage to your teeth, it is important to seek out the services of a dentist to perform routine checkups.
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