Some dental repairs require preliminary tasks before we can even begin the restoration work. Fixing teeth may not always be done in one office visit. One of those preliminary steps may be to lengthen the crown. Crown lengthening exposes a larger portion of your tooth allowing us access to more tooth to place a dental crown.
At Nancy Shiba, DDS, we know that the only thing worse than spending your time and hard earned money to restore your teeth, is to do it again. By lengthening the crown, we are taking the correct preparatory steps to fix your tooth, allowing for better retention and longevity.
What is crown lengthening?
Crown lengthening is a simple dental procedure in which we remove excess gum tissue from around a tooth to expose more of the natural tooth structure, providing more space for a crown to attach to, strengthening the retention of the crown. In order to make the transition look more natural, we often reduce excess gum tissue around neighboring teeth as well.
Crown lengthening is to improve both the health of your gum tissue and to prepare the mouth for a restorative procedure. Patients with excessive gum tissue are often referred to as having a gummy smile. It’s known as a gummy smile because the gum tissue hangs over the teeth, covering part of the tooth. A gummy smile is more than just unattractive, it can hide decay. Patients struggle with brushing beneath this overhanging tissue, allowing bacteria to hide and cause decay. Crown lengthening involves both removing tissue and then recontouring it, and possibly the bone, around the tooth for the health of the tooth and restorative procedures.
Why do patients sometimes require crown lengthening?
Crown Lengthening Process
The crown lengthening procedure is simple, fast, and causes very limited discomfort. In most cases, the procedure will take approximately one hour, though this will vary depending on the number of teeth being worked on and if the removal of some bone is required. Though this may sound uncomfortable, patients are really unaware of most of it, we perform this procedure with a local anesthetic, so the patient is numb. The actual crown lengthening procedure involves a series of small cuts around the tissue where we then separate the gums from the patient’s teeth.
Once the tissue is removed, the area will then be cleansed with sterile water to combat infection. Any open tissue will be closed with sutures and we will then place a protective bandage to promote new gum to tooth healing. You will be sent home with care instructions and Dr. Shiba will want to remove your sutures and check your healing in the weeks following. As the swelling reduces, you will be able to see that your teeth are visibly longer. Your gums should be healed enough in about two to three months following the procedure and we can then proceed with your restoration.
For more information on crown lengthening, contact our front desk at our San Jose office, our staff is happy to answer your questions and assist you in scheduling an appointment. (408) 929-8991