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Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures.  In addition, crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue.  Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue.  This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Reasons for crown lengthening

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.

Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:

  • Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and 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 it is in place.

What does crown lengthening involve?

Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic.  The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in 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 prior to the procedure, and replaced immediately afterwards.

The dentist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order 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 instruments, 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 a chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) 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.

If you have any questions about crown lengthening, please ask your dentist.

Testimonials

Dr. Atabakhsh,

I want you to know how much I truly appreciate your help. It's wonderful to know that someone like you, with your special medical talent, can still be so concerned, compassionate, and caring with their patients, without hesitation. You'll be first on my list for future referrals.

Thank you again

Renee Rozenber

I had been suffering with loose and infected teeth for the past few years. It was affecting my personal life, my job, and my health. Finally my cardiologist said that I had to fix my teeth because I was at risk for another heart attack! Dr. Atabakhsh was the only periodontist that I could trust with my treatment. He is a licensed periodontist who can do I.V. sedation, so all of my treatment was done while I was sleep. He saved my teeth and replaced the missing teeth with dental implants.

-Candy Williams

Dr Atabsksh is Awesome. I have also recommended him my parents and the rest of my family. Everyone was so pleased that he was kind and very professional. Great staff, neat and clean office. You will love this practice.

-Dr Naveed

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