Crown lengthening, also known as crown exposure, is a very easy, straightforward procedure. It is important to get crown lengthening when a tooth needs a new crown or other types of restoration because the edge of the area being restored can be too deep to reach. Sometimes the restoration area is so deep below the gum and so close to or below the bone, that the crown needs to be lengthened in order to reach it.
If a tooth is being restored, it’s important to get access to the area to ensure the best fit possible for the tooth and to give you the ability to brush and floss that area that’s been restored. It’s vital you’re able to take care of this area on your own in order to prevent potential future decay and/or gum disease.
WHAT IS CROWN LENGTHENING?
Crown lengthening is a dental procedure that is performed to recontour gum tissue, and sometimes bone, to expose more of a tooth’s surface for a crown. It’s a common procedure and often takes less than an hour to complete.
WHY MIGHT YOU NEED A CROWN LENGTHENING PROCEDURE?
Crown lengthening might be necessary for several reasons:
If there isn’t enough of the tooth in place to hold the crown on its own. Teeth that are broken or affected by tooth decay may prohibit a crown from firmly attaching.
Crown lengthening reduces gum tissue and shaves down bone when necessary so more of the tooth is above the gum’s surface. A properly fitted crown allows for better oral hygiene and comfort.
Some people seek crown lengthening to alter a “gummy smile,” in which the gums are visible above the teeth when smiling.
HOW DOES THE CROWN LENGTHENING PROCEDURE WORK?
This is an outpatient procedure, meaning patients can typically go home as soon as the surgery is finished. Most patients choose to receive local anesthesia and may receive a sedative as well.
After the area is numbed with a local anesthetic, Dr. Alireza Khansari will make small cuts to pull the gums away from the teeth and remove excess gum. In some cases, removing gum tissue is all that is needed to expose more of the crown. But if there’s too much soft tissue and bone covering the crown, a tiny bit of bone may need to be taken out, too.
After the surgery is completed, the gums are washed with sterile salt water and sutured. The sutures will be in place for roughly three days after the surgery.
IS THIS A LONG PROCEDURE?
Crown lengthening typically only takes around one hour. However, some procedures may be a bit longer or shorter than others.
The amount of time required for the procedure varies depending on the number of teeth that need the procedure and if both soft tissue and bone need to be removed. If you have a temporary crown on any of your neighboring teeth, Dr. Alireza Khansari may remove them before the procedure and replace them afterward. Specialized mouth rinses and over-the-counter pain medication can help any pain that you experience after the procedure.
HOW MUCH DOES CROWN LENGTHENING COST?
Cost varies, but most crown lengthening procedures are around $1,000 to $4,000. If the procedure is medically warranted, insurance should pick up some or most of the cost.
IS CROWN LENGTHENING THE RIGHT PROCEDURE FOR ME?
If you’ve always been bothered by a “gummy” smile (a smile that shows too much gum), crown lengthening may be worth the cost and the short-term discomfort. Additionally, if you are especially susceptible to tooth decay, crown lengthening can make it easier for you to take proper care of your teeth and decrease your risk of decay. If you have excessive or uneven gums, crown lengthening can transform your smile and give you just the right look — and as an added bonus, it may just improve your overall dental health as well.
If you think you might be interested in crown lengthening, schedule a consultation with Dr. Khansari to discuss the risks and benefits, and to see if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
Is Crown Lengthening Safe?
Yes! Crown lengthening is a routine and start procedure. You should follow all postoperative care instructions provided by Dr. Alireza Khansari in order to help prevent any complications after your procedure. As with any surgical procedure, however, there are some minimal risks involved, including:
- Bleeding at the surgical site
- Tooth sensitivity
- The altered physical appearance of the tooth
- Pain surrounding surgical site
What is the Crown Lengthening Recovery Process?
Healing from crown lengthening only takes two to three days. To make sure everything has healed properly, we will book a follow-up appointment for one to two weeks after the crown lengthening procedure has been completed.
Typically patients should avoid strenuous activities, hard foods, and other things that might irritate the gums and teeth and cause them to bleed for the first few days. Patients may notice tooth and gum sensitivity for several weeks after the procedure, but this is normal as your gums are still in the healing process. Here are some other tips for your recovery process:
- Take OTC or prescription medication for pain: In your aftercare instructions, you’ll most likely be told to take ibuprofen or Tylenol at regular intervals.
- Use an ice pack: Using a pack on your face for the first few hours after the procedure can reduce swelling. Alternate use of the ice pack, following 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. You may switch to moist heat a couple days after surgery.
- Avoid hot and cold foods for the first 24 hours: Both can make the bleeding last longer. If bleeding continues, use a moistened tea bag or moistened gauze to apply slight pressure to the area for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Brush carefully: Gently brush only your biting surfaces where the dressing has been applied. Brush and floss normally in other areas. Chew on the opposite side of your mouth from the dressing.