Many people are unhappy with their smile. One relatively common complaint is people who feel that their smile shows too much gum and their teeth appear short in comparison. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, the patient has teeth of completely normal length, but a build-up of gum tissue around the base that hides the full length and causes them to appear abnormally short. However, it is not purely a cosmetic problem. Sometimes, not enough tooth is accessible above the gum to support restorative dental work such as a cavity filling, and your oral care provider will need to expose more of the tooth in order to successfully complete the work. Crown lengthening is an ideal solution.
What is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening involves reshaping your bone and gum tissue so that more of your natural tooth is exposed. It can be performed on one or multiple teeth. Crown lengthening makes the tooth more accessible for restorative dental work and evens up your gum line, improving your smile and reducing the ‘gummy’ appearance.
What Happens During Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is usually a painless procedure as it is performed under local anesthetic. Performed at Silver Springs Periodontics, Dr. Raymond B. van Gennip will make small incisions into the gum so that they can be pulled away from the teeth, exposing the roots and bone. The necessary amount of gum tissue will be cut away, and in most cases, there will also be a need to remove a little of the bone from around the roots of the teeth. Then the area will be thoroughly cleaned with sterile salt water and stitched back together. If any of your teeth need a crown, you will likely be given a temporary one during the procedure and can return to have the final one put into place after you are fully healed from your lengthening surgery.
Recovery from Crown Lengthening Surgery
Immediately after, Dr. van Gennip will provide you with a prescription for some pain relief and a special anti-bacterial mouthwash that will help minimize the risk of post-operative infection. Some swelling is to be expected and you can use an ice pack on your jaw to help reduce this. Your Silver Springs Periodontist, Dr. van Gennip will also provide you with advice on what you can eat during the recovery period, as you will need to follow a primarily soft diet for at least the first week after the procedure. You will also be given guidance on how to brush your teeth during the healing process as you will need to avoid the gums and stitches.
Around 7-10 days after your crown lengthening surgery, you will be asked to attend a follow-up appointment at our Silver Springs Dental Office to have your stitches removed, and a further appointment will be made for 4 to 6 weeks later to check on the progress of your healing. You can expect your gums to be completely healed around 12 weeks after your surgery, and at this point any permanent crowns can be put into place.
If you have any concerns during the healing process or want to know more about this procedure, contact us or make an appointment at Silver Spring Periodontics with Dr. Raymond B. van Gennip today at (301) 565-8030.