Here at Forney Family Dentistry & Orthodontics, we know that patients have diverse dental care needs, and these needs can be addressed in a number of ways. Sometimes restorative dentistry will be necessary to address dental health concerns, while other times a little bit of cosmetic dentistry is all that's needed.
One issue that comes up a fair amount with patients is what to do about smiles in which the gums are too prominent. Let's address that problem right now by discussing crown lengthening.
About Crown Lengthening
Crown lengthening is a procedure in which a dentist will reduce the extent of your gumline in order to reshape tooth structure.
This is typically performed on patients whose teeth are the proper lengths, but are covered by too much of their gums, preventing a dentist from installing a corrective crown. This condition, colloquially known as a “gummy smile,” is not just a cosmetic procedure.
Gummy Smiles May Be More Than a Cosmetic Problem
If your teeth are covered by too much gum tissue, it may make it difficult for your dentist to perform other corrective procedures, especially a crown installation. Exposing more of your tooth increases the likelihood of successful treatments of your teeth and should be done if you require a crown.
While some dentists perform this procedure, often times you will be referred to a periodontist for your crown lengthening. Prior to your crown lengthening, a regular tooth cleaning by an oral hygienist may be recommended, but is not a prerequisite to the procedure.
What to Expect During Crown Lengthening
During the procedure, your periodontist will pull the gums away from your teeth. Occasionally, this will expose enough of the bone for your dentist to perform any required procedures, especially crown installation, beyond the crown lengthening.
In some cases, bone structure may need to be removed. Once completed, your periodontist will begin stitching your gums back together in a way that will ultimately expose more tooth structure than before. If required, your periodontist will also install a temporary crown to protect the tooth from additional damage during the healing process.
What to Expect Immediately After Crown Lengthening
After your surgery, your dentist may prescribe a painkiller and suggest a softer diet. Your dentist may also suggest chewing on the side of your mouth that was not treated. This will help you avoid accidentally chewing on gums that have been treated, which may put you at risk for undoing some or all of the periodontist’s work.
What to Expect as You Continue to Heal and Recover
After your crown lengthening, you should expect swelling around the treated area. You can use either ice or a frozen bag of vegetables to apply cold treatments to the swollen area. This should ease some pain and help reduce swelling around the treated area.
Your periodontist will want to see you no more than 10 days after the procedure to remove your stitches. In all likelihood, your periodontist will want to schedule your follow up visit immediately after your crown lengthening. After you have fully recovered from your crown lengthening, your normal dentist will perform the crown and/or any additional procedures he or she deems necessary.
Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment
If you would like to learn more about all of your options for advanced dental treatment, it's important to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team looks forward to meeting you in person and going over all of these matters in greater detail.