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What is Crown Lengthening?

Team Oral Surgery

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure that involves reducing gum tissue in order to expose more of the crown of the tooth. This can be done on one or multiple teeth depending on the needs of the patient. Crown lengthening is a common procedure that is performed by periodontists and general dentists. 

What is crown lengthening and why is it necessary? Here’s what you need to know about this procedure if you’re considering it for yourself. 

What is the Purpose of Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is typically performed for one of two reasons: 

  • Cosmetic reasons. If there is too much gum tissue covering the teeth it can cause some patients to be dissatisfied with their smile. This can occur on one or several teeth. Crown lengthening uncovers more of the teeth so that your smile looks more natural. 
  • Dental health reasons. A severely decayed or damaged tooth may be saved with a crown. However, if there is not enough of the existing tooth structure above the gum line, it can be difficult to place a crown.  Without the procedure, the crown may not stay on or loose the seal and develop new tooth decay.  The new crown could also cause recession and red, irritated gums leading to support loss around the tooth.   Crown lengthening removes some of the gum tissue and support to expose more of the tooth.  This will allow the crown to be placed successfully with a good, long-term prognosis. 

Who Performs Crown Lengthening Procedures?

Periodontists specialize in the health of the support structures for the teeth, which makes them particularly skilled in crown lengthening procedures. Some dentists have the skill and tools required to perform this procedure, but you will likely find that a periodontist can provide you with the best possible results as they perform this treatment regularly with advanced training to deliver optimum results. 

What Does the Crown Lengthening Procedure Entail?

Here’s what to expect if you undergo a crown lengthening procedure: 

The gum tissue being worked on will be numbed first so that you won’t feel any discomfort. The excess gum tissue and possibly some of the underlying support  is adjusted to expose the needed tooth structure for the future crown or Veneer. After completion of the treatment, the gums are re-adapted to the teeth with some stitches. 

How Long Does Recovery Take?

On the day of your procedure you should plan to take the rest of the day off after your appointment so that you can rest and recover. You can relieve any discomfort you may feel with over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Usually, any discomfort is minor. You will need to avoid eating in the area for about one week. You should feel completely back to normal in about a week. 

How Should You Care For Your Teeth After the Procedure?

Your dentist should give you specific instructions on care following the treatment. Typically, you should avoid cleaning the teeth that were treated until the tissue has matured. An antiseptic rinse is typically prescribed. You will also want to avoid foods that could damage or irritate the area until your gums have had time to fully heal. It is always best to avoid smoking and tobacco use, as well as alcohol when healing. 

Does Dental Insurance Cover Crown Lengthening?

If the purpose of the crown lengthening procedure is cosmetic, dental insurance won’t typically cover it. But if the procedure is being done to make it possible to place a dental crown, insurance will usually cover it because the crown is necessary for your dental health. 

Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry Specializes in Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is best performed by a professional periodontist with plenty of experience with this procedure. If your goals are merely cosmetic, you can expect a better looking smile when the procedure is complete. If the purpose is a crown restoration, your tooth will be fully restored and more resistant to decay and other risky complications. Dr. Gordon at Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry specializes in crown lengthening procedures, providing you with the highest quality results. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our convenient locations.