Sometimes, a tooth is not long enough for a dental crown. In this instance, your dentist may perform a crown lengthening procedure, which involves reshaping gum tissue and bone to expose more of the tooth’s surface.
In certain cases, such as following root canal treatment, the exposed surface area of a tooth may not be large enough to support a crown.
You may also choose to undergo crown lengthening for aesthetic purposes. If you have a gummy smile, removing some of the soft tissue to reveal the base of your teeth can produce satisfactory, aesthetically pleasing results.
If your tooth needs a crown urgently, your dentist may fit a temporary one. Not only will this shield the tooth from further damage, but it also allows your periodontist to assess how much of the tooth they will need to expose during the procedure.
Crown lengthening surgery is commonly carried out under local anaesthesia. The duration of the procedure depends on how many teeth are involved. Even if you are only having a crown fitted on one tooth, your periodontist may have to reshape the surrounding gum tissue for the most natural-looking result.
Your periodontist will expose the roots and bone by making small incisions in the gums and pulling them away from the teeth. They will then remove the smallest amount of tissue necessary to reveal enough of your tooth, before washing the area with a salt solution and stitching the gums closed.
Your gums must heal before your dentist can fit your permanent crown, so you will likely keep your temporary crown until you are ready for the next stage. Healing from crown lengthening typically takes about 3 months.
You may experience swelling in the gums immediately following surgery, which you can reduce by applying ice to the affected area. Any discomfort can be managed with prescribed painkillers.
In most cases, your periodontist will remove your stitches about a week after the surgery.
As with most surgical procedures, there are a few minor risks involved in crown lengthening. The tooth or gum may become infected following the surgery, and you may find the teeth in the target area become more sensitive to hot and cold.
These complications only occur in a minimal number of cases. Your periodontist will discuss their likelihood based on your individual case ahead of your surgery.
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