The process of crown lengthening involves exposing more of the tooth’s surface for cosmetic as well as oral health concerns. There are several reasons why someone might need crown lengthening procedure. Learn more about the crown lengthening process and the post-surgical tips to make your surgery successful.

Dental Crown Lengthening.

What is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a procedure that reduces the amount of gum tissue sometimes revealing the root or bone so that a crown can be affixed to an existing tooth. A crown or “cap” may be necessary because of cracked or damaged tooth. Cavities in the teeth, if left untreated, can get too big to be remedied with a filling, thus potentially needing a crown. In addition, crowns can also cover awkwardly shaped or discolored teeth.

Do You Need Crown Lengthening?

While crown lengthening is often utilized for people who need crowns placed over the teeth, individuals who have gummy smiles may be interested in the crown lengthening procedure. People with excessive gum tissue that make the teeth appear short can have a portion of the gums sculpted or removed for a more natural looking smile.  

Crown Lengthening: Preparation and Surgery

Crown lengthening is an outpatient procedure that can often be completed in an hour. Prior to the surgery, X-rays will be taken. Your medical history will be reviewed with the surgeon to go over any medications you’re taking or any health concerns that could affect the outcome of the procedure. An examination of the teeth, gums and bone structure will help determine if crown lengthening surgery is right for you.

The periodontist will determine how much of the gums need to be removed or contoured for your dental needs. Cosmetic restructuring of the gum tissue is often less invasive than crown lengthening needed for a crown. In some cases, the gum tissue will be contoured with a laser. In other cases, some bone must be removed to achieve the desired outcome. Crown lengthening is considered to be a common dental procedure but, like with any oral surgery, there are some risks to consider. Infection is most likely the main concern following a crown lengthening procedure. You may be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent or treat infection.

After crown lengthening surgery, bleeding is another concern that needs to be monitored and managed. Following the post-operative care recommendations is an important part in reducing risks and aiding the post surgical healing process. After your crown lengthening procedure, if you have any concerns about your teeth or gums, follow-up your periodontist about your recovery.

Aftercare and Recovering from Crown Lengthening

Your gums may need several months to fully heal after crown lengthening. Though you can perform most activities of daily life right after surgery, there are a few suggested aftercare tips for optimal recovery.

Applying an ice pack for approximately 20 minutes on an off, the day of your surgery, can help reduce swelling. To reduce unwanted bleeding, avoid hot foods and beverages as well as strenuous activities for the first 48 to 72 hours. For pain relief, take prescribed or over-the-counter medication as suggested by your dentist or periodontist.

Following the crown lengthening procedure a dressing will be needed to support healing. Gums may be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures for a while. Avoid hard, spicy, or sticky foods for a while. Soft foods and plenty of water will allow the gums to heal faster. And as with most oral surgeries, refraining from drinking alcohol and smoking for 7 to 10 days after your surgery will increase the effectiveness of the procedure.

In addition, refrain from running your tongue over treated gums as well as pulling your lip outward to check on the site. Any strain to the incision can potentially damage the suture. As previously mentioned, if you have concerns about the surgical area, schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to assess the healing process. The recovery period is an essential part of the crown lengthening procedure. Following the post-operative care checklist is vital to a successful operation and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 

Consult A Dentist

Dr. David Evans’ team can guide you through the process of determining if crown lengthening is the right procedure for you. Your regular dentist can refer you to our periodontist, Dr. Lai for periodontal procedures like crown lengthening. If you have dental or oral concerns, contact a dentist sooner than later. Schedule an appointment with Dr. David Evans today.