Crown lengthening is not a common term for most patients since it is recommended only occasionally. Yet, when it is recommended, the results can make a significant difference to the health and appearance of one’s smile.
For example, crown lengthening may be able to save a tooth that has broken close to the gum line. Typically, a tooth that breaks at the gum line must be removed. However, by using crown lengthening procedures to remove gum tissue, we can expose more of the tooth. This can provide sufficient tooth structure that can support a crown. This can prevent the patient from the decisions – and subsequent costs – of tooth replacement.
Essentially, crown lengthening is a procedure that repositions or removes gum tissue. In most cases, it is recommended to enhance the appearance of a smile.
Crown lengthening is most often performed to correct an uneven smile line. This is when the gum tissue that arches over each tooth is at a different level than the arches over surrounding teeth. This ‘up and down’ line creates a jumbled look for teeth most visible in a smile. Even straight teeth with an uneven smile line can look ‘off.’ By creating an unified smile line over teeth, crown lengthening provides a more flattering appearance.
Crown lengthening can also repair a ‘gummy smile.’ This is a genetic trait and not detrimental to one’s oral health. However, it does cause some people to feel self-conscious when smiling. A gummy smile is one that shows too much gum tissue above the teeth. Katie Couric’s smile is a good example. In mild cases, gum tissue can be removed without the need to crown teeth. However, crowns are often recommended so the gums can be recontoured to a more natural level.
Another reason for crown lengthening is to help seal the gum tissue that surrounds a tooth at its base. When a crown is placed, the gums at its entry point require time before they become securely attached. This helps to prevent the entry of bacteria that can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, The procedure can help to secure gum tissue around the crown to protect from bacterial penetration.
The procedure of crown lengthening is known as a gingivectomy. It is typically performed while the patient relaxes under oral sedation. Afterwards, some swelling and tenderness may occur for several days. Most patients do fine with over-the-counter medications although prescription strength is available if desired. Smokers can expect a longer healing period due to the drying effects of the chemicals in tobacco.
You should notice gradual improvement each day and feel your gums are back to normal within several weeks. However, the results of the procedure can be seen much sooner! The beautiful look that crown lengthening provides will be obvious very quickly!
If reshaping your gums could give you a more appealing smile, crown lengthening is a safe, successful procedure. In our office we use a dental laser, which helps to provide a precision line, enhances comfort and speeds healing. Begin with a free consultation to discuss what may be involved in creating the smile you desire. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule.