For some people, it may look like their teeth are shorter than normal. In reality, this is not the case. They have what is called ‘a gummy smile.’ This means that the natural contour and beauty of their teeth are hidden behind their gums. By re-contouring the gumline with esthetic crown lengthening, we can expose the full contour of the tooth enamel. This procedure can make a for an immediate and dramatic improvement to your smile!
What is Esthetic Crown Lengthening?
Esthetic Crown Lengthening is a surgical procedure in which gum tissue is re-contoured to expose more of the tooth. It is normally performed to improve the health of gum tissue or to prepare the patient’s mouth for a restorative or cosmetic procedure. This procedure can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line to expose a pleasant, aesthetically appealing smile.
Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits. The vast majority of patients who have undergone this type of surgery are highly delighted with the results.
Some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening include:
- Restoration of Damaged Teeth: Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can any trauma and/or decay. Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.
- Cosmetic Uses: Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
- Dental Crowns: Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once in place.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend on how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed, in addition to the soft tissue. Any existing dental crowns will be removed before the procedure, and replaced immediately afterward.
The periodontist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue to separate the gums away from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping. Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.
In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown. In other cases, the dentist will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth. The bone is usually removed using a combination of special hand and rotary instruments. The rotary instruments roughly resemble the drill that is used in cavity treatment.
When the dentist is satisfied the teeth have sufficient exposure, the wound will be cleaned with sterile water and the gum tissue will be sutured with small stitches. The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned.
The dentist will secure the surgical site using an intraoral (periodontal) bandage which serves to prevent infection. Prescriptions may be provided for pain medication, and chlorhexidine (anti-microbial) mouth rinse may be given to help reduce any bacteria attempting to re-colonize. The surgical site will be completely healed in approximately two to three months.
To learn more about Esthetic Crown Lengthening, we invite you to contact Peace Periodontics to schedule a consultation appointment.
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