Crown Lengthening

Crown Lengthening can be needed when a tooth breaks off at the gum line. It also can happen when a crown or filling falls out of a tooth and there is decay underneath. To place a filling or crown, your dentist needs to expose more of the tooth. This is done by removing some gum tissue or bone. Some people have a lot of gum tissue around their upper teeth. Dentists call this “gummy smile.” This also can be treated with crown lengthening

Crown lengthening is typically done using local anesthesia. How long it takes will depend on the number of teeth that need treatment. Even if only one tooth is involved, crown lengthening typically includes neighboring teeth, too. That allows the tissues to be reshaped gradually. If both bone and soft tissue are removed, the procedure will take longer than if only soft tissue is removed.

The oral surgeon will make cuts that will pull the gums away from the teeth. This will expose the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone. In some cases, simply removing a little gum tissue will expose enough tooth for your dentist to place a crown or filling. However, in most cases, the oral surgeon will need to remove some bone from around the roots of the teeth. Once the surgeon has exposed enough tooth, the surgical area will be washed with sterile salt water and the gums will be stitched together. Some dentists put a bandage over the stitches.

You will be given prescriptions for a pain reliever and a mouth rinse. Your dentist will ask you to follow a somewhat soft diet. You can brush the teeth near the stitches, but avoid the gums. Remove food particles with a toothpick or a water irrigator.

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