Crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over a natural tooth for aesthetic or structural reasons. A crown may be recommended when a tooth is cracked, broken, or misshapen. A crown can also be used to complete dental procedures, such as bridges, root canals, and dental implants. Crowns must be able to firmly affix to an existing tooth.
Dental surgeons perform crown lengthening by recontouring gum tissue, and sometimes bone, to expose more of a tooth’s surface for a crown. It’s a common procedure and often takes less than an hour to complete.
Crown lengthening can be necessary if there isn’t enough of the tooth in place to hold the crown on its own. Teeth that are broken or affected by tooth decay may prohibit a crown from firmly attaching.
Crown lengthening reduces gum tissue and shaves down bone when necessary so more of the tooth is above the gum’s surface. A properly fitted crown allows for better oral hygiene and comfort.
Some people seek crown lengthening to alter a “gummy smile,” in which the gums are visible above the teeth when smiling.
We may fit you with a temporary crown until you can have your procedure. The temporary crown can protect your tooth in the interim and can make the fitting of your new crown easier.
Before your surgery, you will meet with the periodontist to give a medical history and for them to view your X-rays. During this appointment, you should talk to your surgeon about any medications you take. They’ll let you know if you need to discontinue any of them for the procedure.
Our periodontist will perform the crown lengthening during an outpatient procedure. This means you can go home afterward. The time the procedure takes varies depending on the number of teeth that need the procedure and if both soft tissue and bone need to be removed. If you have a temporary crown on any of your neighboring teeth, your periodontist may remove them before the procedure and replace them afterward.
Most people receive local anesthesia and may receive a sedative as well. The periodontist cuts the gums to pull them away from the teeth, exposing the roots and bone. In some cases, only the gum tissue needs to be removed. The surgeon then washes the surgical area with salt water before suturing. They suture the gums back together, sometimes placing a bandage over the area for additional protection.
You will feel some pain after the local anesthesia wears off, so your surgeon will prescribe you pain relievers and a specialized mouth rinse to help your gums heal
There is some risk of infection with crown lengthening, but no more than with other surgical procedures. You should follow all postoperative care instructions to help prevent infection. Contact your dental office with any questions during your recovery.
You might experience bleeding at the surgical site after the procedure, and your teeth may be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. The sensitivity will ease with time. Your tooth might look longer than the neighboring teeth, and if bone was removed, the tooth may feel looser. If you lose your tooth in the future, the crown lengthening might make it more difficult for the surgeon to place a dental implant.
The recovery time for this procedure is approximately three months. However, you’ll be able to resume normal functions as your gums heal. You only need to avoid strenuous activity for the first two to three days. A physically demanding job, heavy lifting, and heavy exertion could inhibit your healing and cause more bleeding.