Some people look like they have short teeth. The gums are a little large, and this makes the teeth look shorter. Dentists would call this type of mouth a “gummy smile”. While it’s not necessarily a medical problem, it can be a cosmetic one, and dentists can solve this problem with crown lengthening.
Crown lengthening makes the teeth look longer by removing some of the excess gum at the base of the teeth. It may be medically necessary if the dentist needs to repair a tooth and can’t access it because the gum blocks access. For example, if a dentist needs to do a filling or repair a broken tooth, the gums may be so large that the dentist can’t do his work.
Usually, a crown lengthening can be done with just a local anesthetic, but this may vary depending on the patient and the specific process needed. Sometimes a dentist will affix a crown to the tooth before beginning the lengthening, because it gives the dentist a better grip on the tooth as he’s working.
During the surgery, the dentist will make tiny cuts in the gum. Sometimes, the dentist can get what he needs just be removing a little bit of the gum tissue, but in many cases, the dentist has to actually remove a small portion of the bone beneath the gum. The dentist will clean the area with a sterile saline solution and then stitch the gums back together.
Usually, the surgery will heal completely in about three months. When the surgery is completely healed, the dentist may replace the temporary crown with a permanent crown or finish whatever other dental procedures need to be done.
Crown lengthening may be a bit uncomfortable immediately following the procedure, but your dentist will give you a thorough list of instructions to help keep you comfortable and to help keep your mouth healthy after the surgery. Our Plantation dentists and periodontists will be happy to explain your options to you, so we invite you to contact our office today to set up an initial consultation.