Crown lengthening can minimize the amount of gum that’s viewable in your smile and can make teeth look longer.
If you’re bothered by a “gummy” smile or teeth that you feel are too small, you may want to consider crown lengthening. Also known as a gum lift, this cosmetic dentistry procedure can beautify your smile by exposing more of your teeth.
What Is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is an oral surgery treatment that involves removing excess gum tissue, and possibly some bone, around the upper teeth to make them look longer. It’s a common procedure performed by Dr. Tran at Docdental Smile, dentists, periodontists, or gum specialists.
Crown lengthening may be done for dental care and medical reasons as well as for the cosmetic effect. If there’s decay or fracture under the gum line, for example, crown lengthening can help expose more of the tooth’s crown in order to support a filling or crown.
What Does Crown Lengthening Involve?
Crown lengthening involves oral surgery performed under local anesthesia. After the area is numbed, the dentist or periodontist makes 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 is 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 stitched up.
Advantages of crown lengthening: Unlike many cosmetic dentistry treatments, crown lengthening only needs to be done once, with no requirement for touch-ups down the road. In addition to creating a wider, more symmetrical smile, crown lengthening can provide some dental care benefits as well. The surgery can usually be completed in an hour.
Recovery From a Crown Lengthening Procedure
Following surgery, you’ll be given a prescription for a pain reliever and instructed to use ice to reduce any swelling. You’ll want to eat a diet of fairly soft foods and brush your teeth carefully in the area near the stitches, which will come out in 7 to 10 days.
Complete healing of the gums can take up to three months, however. At that point, you may opt to have veneers or another cosmetic dentistry procedure done, such as bonding or tooth whitening.
Is Crown Lengthening Right For You?
If you’ve always been bothered by a smile that shows too much gum, crown lengthening may be worth the cost and the short-term discomfort. In addition, if you are especially susceptible to tooth decay, crown lengthening can make it easier for you to take proper care of your teeth and perhaps 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.