Periodontists perform crown lengthening to prepare a patient’s mouth for cosmetic or restorative dental treatments or to improve the health of gum tissue. Crown lengthening can also help correct the look of a smile where excessive gum tissue covers the teeth in an unwanted way. With recontouring and reshaping of the gum and bone tissue, crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth surface, and dentists can perform the procedure on a single tooth, several teeth or the whole gum line to create a beautiful smile.
Why dentists perform crown lengthening
A standard procedure in dental offices, crown lengthening, has many versatile and practical benefits for patients. Most patients who have crown lengthening done love their results and the reasons why dentists perform the procedure include:
- Improved cosmetic appearance – Excessive gum tissue can make teeth appear unnatural short and can increase a patient’s chances of suffering periodontal infections. By removing the excess gum tissue, dentists restore a healthy balance between gum and exposed teeth surface that improves the overall cosmetic appearance of the smile.
- Increase space for dental crowns – When dentists perform a crown lengthening procedure it increases the space between the dental crown and the jawbone, which prevents the crown from damaging bone and gum tissue after placement.
- Preparation for tooth restoration – When teeth suffer damage along the gum line from trauma, decay or periodontal disease, dentists can use crown lengthening to prepare the patient’s mouth for restoration procedures that correct the damage.
Procedure for crown lengthening
Periodontists usually perform crown lengthening on patients under local anesthetic and the time involved with the proceedings depends on the number of teeth involved, how much soft tissue requires removal and if they need to remove a small amount of bone as well. If the patient has existing dental crowns, the dentist removes them before the procedure and then replaces them after.
During crown lengthening, the dentist separates the gums away from the teeth through a series of minute incisions around the soft tissue that gives him or her access to the underlying bone and tooth roots. The dentist may treat neighboring teeth even if only one tooth requires re-contouring to ensure a more even appearance. Sometimes removing that small amount of tissue exposes enough tooth to place a crown but other times, the dentist may have to remove a small quantity of bone from around the tooth or teeth.
Once the dentist exposes sufficient tooth surface, the dentist cleans the area, closes it with small stitches, and secures the site with a periodontal bandage to prevent infection. Immediately after the procedure, the repositioned gums make teeth appear visibly longer. Some dentists prescribe pain medications and an antimicrobial mouth rinse to reduce the potential for bacteria growth, and complete healing takes around 2-3 months.
Contact Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics to learn how crown lengthening may be able to help improve your oral health and smile.