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Crown Lengthening

What is Crown Lengthening?

This is a common procedure. Gum tissue or bone is removed to expose more of a tooth. Crown lengthening is done when a tooth needs to be restored. Sometimes, not enough of the tooth sticks out above the gum to support a filling or crown.

This can happen when a tooth breaks off at the gum line. It also can happen when a crown or filling falls out of a tooth and there is decay underneath. To place a filling or crown, your dentist needs to expose more of the tooth. This is done by removing some gum tissue and/or bone. Some people have a lot of gum tissue around their upper teeth. Dentists call this a "gummy smile." This also can be treated with crown lengthening.


Before crown lengthening is done, you will visit a periodontist. At this visit, the periodontist will review your medical history and your X-rays. He or she will set a date for the procedure.

If the tooth needs a crown, your dentist may place a temporary crown to protect the tooth. This makes the crown lengthening procedure easier, because the surgeon will be able to see how much soft tissue or bone to remove.

The area will heal in about one week. After allowing your gum tissue to heal for approximately 8 weeks, your dentist will be able to place the final crown.


How it is done

Crown lengthening is done using local anesthesia and an oral sedative, if desired. The length of your appointment will depend on the number of teeth that need treatment. Even if only one tooth is involved, crown lengthening typically includes neighboring teeth. This allows the tissues to be reshaped naturally. If both bone and soft tissue are removed, the procedure will take longer than if only soft tissue is removed.

If you have temporary crowns on any of the involved teeth, the crowns will be removed before the procedure begins. The periodontist will replace them afterward.  Your periodontist will ask you to follow a soft diet until you are seen for follow up and suture removal in one week.


Follow up

For the first two days, apply ice packs to the treated area and take Motrin (Ibuprofen) as recommended. This will reduce swelling and decrease any possible discomfort.


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