A dental crown can often save a tooth with extensive decay or damage. But in some cases the damage is so significant that there is not enough tooth material left to place a crown. This is when crown lengthening can be a helpful procedure.
If you have a tooth that needs crown lengthening before a dental crown can be placed, you may be wondering how long you’ll have to wait after the procedure to have your permanent crown.
What is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is the process of removing some of the gum tissue and usually some underlying support in order to expose more of the tooth material. This can be done for cosmetic reasons to improve a gummy smile or for functional reasons to allow a crown to fit properly and obtain predictable long-term results. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area before the tissue is removed. You will likely need sutures to position the gums properly.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From Crown Lengthening?
Typically, minimal discomfort would be expected after crown lengthening only requiring a day or two of ibuprofen or Tylenol. No significant swelling or any bruising would be anticipated. Daily activities are usually not affected.
How Long Does it Take for the Gum Tissue to Heal?
The crown lengthening area usually feels fine after a week, but the full maturation of the soft tissue takes about 3 months. Highly esthetic areas may take as long as 4 to 6 months to insure the best esthetic end-result. This would be reviewed by the healthcare provider. Once complete healing is achieved, the crown can be placed over the tooth. Your periodontist will monitor your healing and inform you to have the crown placed when the time is right.
Is Crown Lengthening Worth It?
If you have a tooth that is badly decayed or has broken off close to the gum line, crown lengthening may be the only way to save it. Otherwise it will need to be extracted and replaced with a bridge or dental implant. A crown is typically a less costly option that is also better for your dental health as it allows your natural root to stay in place.
Who Provides Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is typically performed by a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating the support structures for the teeth, especially the gums. A periodontist has the specific training and equipment to provide effective crown lengthening that will allow you to get a crown placed on a tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted. Crown lengthening for crown placement is a more complex procedure than cosmetic crown lengthening, so it is best left to an expert.
Why Choose Progressive Periodontics & Implant Dentistry?
Progressive Periodontics & Implant Dentistry specializes in treatments and procedures affecting the gums, including crown lengthening. If you have a tooth that needs saving we can evaluate it and determine whether or not crown lengthening may be a possible solution.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crown Lengthening
Is crown lengthening covered by insurance?
In cases where crown lengthening is being done in preparation for crown placement, the procedure may be covered by your dental insurance. However, if it is being done for cosmetic purposes to improve your smile, it may not be covered.
Are there alternatives to crown lengthening?
In the case of a tooth that does not have enough tooth structure available for a crown lengthening procedure, sometimes orthodontic intervention can help. If a tooth needs crown lengthening and it is not performed, there is an increased risk of infection, recession, loss of support, and crown loss. Alternatively, the tooth can be extracted and replaced with a bridge or dental implant.