Crown lengthening is usually performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for a procedure, or correct a gummy smile. A gummy smile is used to describe an instance where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue resulting in a less esthetically-pleasing smile.The procedure involves reshaping or re-contouring the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question to create a new gum-totooth relationship. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the entire gum line.
Crown lengthening is often required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue and not immediately accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.
Crown lengthening allows us to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease.
Crown lengthening takes approximately one hour but will largely depend on the amount of teeth involved and if any amount of bone will need to be removed. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic and involves a series of small incisions around the tissue to separate the gums from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the procedure, it will probably be necessary to adjust the surrounding teeth to enable a more even reshaping. In some cases, extraction of a small amount of bone will be necessary as well.
When Dr. Trail is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure is completed, the incisions will be cleaned with sterile water. Sutures and a protective bandage are then placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. Your teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate your healing. The surgical site should be completely healed in approximately two to three months following the procedure.
Cosmetic Periodontal Surgery
Cosmetic periodontal procedures are a conventional way to cover unsightly, sensitive, or exposed root surfaces and to prevent future gum recession. If you are unhappy with the appearance of short, unsightly teeth this can be greatly improved by a combination of periodontal procedures by Dr. Trail and cosmetic dentistry by your dentist.
Although your teeth appear short, they may actually be the proper length. The teeth may be covered with too much gum tissue. We can correct this by performing the periodontal plastic surgery procedure, crown lengthening. During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to more than one tooth, to even your gum line, and to create a beautiful smile.
Another cosmetic procedure is the soft tissue graft. It is used to cover unattractive tooth roots, reduce gum recession, and protect the roots from decay and eventual loss.
Tooth loss causes the jawbone to recede and can lead to an unnatural looking indentation in your gums and jaw, and appearance of a general aging. The original look of your mouth may not be recaptured because of spaces remaining under and between replacement teeth. They may appear too long compared to nearby teeth.
Bone grafting following tooth loss can preserve the socket/ridge and minimize gum and bone collapse. There is less shrinkage and a more aesthetic tooth replacement for either an implant crown or fixed bridge around the replacement teeth.
For more information about crown lengthening, gum grafting, and bone grafting, please refer to the treatment section of our website, and click on each individual procedure for an in-depth description.