You may have asked your periodontist about procedures to improve a “gummy” smile because your teeth appear short. Your teeth may actually be the proper lengths, but they’re covered with too much gum tissue. To correct this, your periodontist performs a dental crown lengthening procedure.
Crown lengthening exposes a greater part of the tooth and is typically performed to improve the health of your gums, prepare your mouth for a procedure, or to correct a gummy smile. During treatment, we reshape and re-contour the gum tissue and bone surrounding the tooth to create a new gum-to-tooth ratio. A lot of times, crown lengthening is required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration because the edge of the restoration is deep below the gum tissue. The lengthening process allows us to access the edge of the restoration and provides enough tooth structure to secure and stabilize the new restoration keeping it firmly in place.
Crown Lengthening Procedure
The lengthening procedure takes approximately one to two hours which is usually performed under local anesthetic and involves temporarily separating the gum from the tooth. If only one tooth requires the procedure it will still probably be necessary to reshape the gum-line of the surrounding teeth.
When Dr. Sims is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure has been completed sutures and a protective bandage are then placed to help secure things. Your teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been re-positioned. You will need to return in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate the healing process. The treated teeth should be ready for necessary treatment by your regular dentist approximately 2 to 3 months following the procedure.
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