For some people, it can be embarrassing to smile because they feel like their teeth are too short and not as aesthetically pleasing as they would like. However, it’s highly likely that their teeth aren’t actually short; they may just have gums that cover more tooth surface than average. For teeth that are the proper length, but have too much gum tissue, a periodontist offers crown lengthening that can help improve the overall appearance of a person’s smile.
Reasons for crown lengthening
Along with correcting the look of “small” or “short” teeth for cosmetic reasons, there are medical reasons for crown lengthening. These reasons include the need to restore the appearance of teeth that have suffered extensive tooth decay. The result is a healthier, balanced smile.
Crown lengthening procedure
For someone with a “gummy smile” due to gum disease or genetics, their teeth can look so small they almost resemble baby teeth. Crown lengthening offers a simple procedure with minimal recovery time that the dentist can perform in one visit. During the procedure, patients receive a local anesthesia and then the dentist cuts along the gum line and removes the portion required to improve the tooth’s appearance. Sometimes the dentist needs to remove some bone from around the tooth root along with the gum tissue for a successful procedure.
Once the dentist exposes enough tooth, they wash the surgical area with sterile salt water, stitch the gums together, and may place bandages to aid in healing. The periodontist can perform crown lengthening around a single tooth (although proper reshaping usually involves neighboring teeth too) or the entire gum line as necessary. Following the procedure, dentists may prescribe pain relievers and a mouth rinse and recommend a softer diet temporarily. Patients should avoid brushing the gums near the stitches until healing is complete.
Other applications of crown lengthening
When a cavity is very close to the gum line, a dentist may perform crown lengthening so he or she can fill the cavity properly. Dentists also do crown lengthening to help with the safe, secure placement of a crown on a deteriorated tooth. Sometimes crown lengthening isn’t enough to give patients the perfect smile they desire, so the periodontist may recommend other complementary procedures to improve the appearance and health of the smile.
You should always be proud to share your smile with the world, and if teeth that appear too small have been holding you back, it’s time to call Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics and discuss crown lengthening.