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Crown Lengthening

The crown of your tooth is the part that is visible above the gum line. If there isn’t enough surface area for a dentist to work on the crown, the gum of a patient can be reduced. This will make the crown easier to access.

Below is more information about the procedure, if crown lengthening is required, and more.

Is Crown Lengthening Required?

If your tooth has been broken to the point where there isn’t enough of the crown left above the gumline to repair it, you may require a crown lengthening procedure to resolve the issue. You also may need a new crown, an overlay, or a filling. The lengthening procedure will allow your dentist to perform whichever repair is necessary in order to save your tooth.

If you have a “gummy smile,” you may be a candidate for a crown lengthening procedure to fix this cosmetic issue. With a gummy smile, the teeth and gums of a patient are disproportionate. This affects the look of their smile. In order to show off those pearly whites, crown lengthening can be performed. This will bring the gums down to a more natural level.

If your dentist has found decay below the gum line, they’ll need to address it—but this can be difficult. They may need to expose more of the crown of a tooth so they can repair the damage. A crown lengthening provides them with the access they need for the repair.

Finally, if you have a short tooth, you may need more of your gums exposed to stop food from being trapped around the tooth. Your gums require at least 2 mm of tooth surface area to bond to. A crown lengthening provides more surface area.

The Crown Lengthening Procedure

The crown lengthening procedure is pretty simple and quick. Generally, it only takes an hour or less. First, your dentist will perform x-rays to examine the tooth. Once they have determined a crown lengthening is the right choice, they will provide you with a local anesthetic. The dentist will then perform the surgery. This involves cutting your gums and pulling them away from the tooth in order to expose the crown. Bone may need to be removed from around the roots of your tooth. After the gums are removed, the area is washed with sterile saltwater. Finally, the gums are stitched back together.

The healing process should be around three to four weeks. If your dentist needed to remove bone, the process of healing this bone may take upwards of six months to properly heal.

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After Your Crown Lengthening

You will be provided with a mouth rinse to use after the procedure, along with prescription pain medication. Take the medication as prescribed. You will also be asked to stick to a soft diet for a little while. When you brush and floss, make sure to avoid the stitches. After around seven to ten days, your dentist will remove the stitches.

The disease on your tooth below the gumline or your final crown preparation can be addressed after around six weeks to three months. You need this time to heal up entirely. You will notice increased sensitivity with cold and hot food and drinks. This is because the root is exposed. After the permanent crown is placed, the sensitivity will subside.

Make sure to follow the aftercare instructions of your dentist to ensure proper healing.

Teeth Replacement

If your tooth is damaged to the point where it can no longer be repaired (even with the help of a teeth lengthening procedure), your dentist may consider extraction. This is a last case scenario. Once the extraction has been performed your dentist will discuss replacement options with you. These options may include a dental implant or a dental bridge.

It’s extremely important to have your tooth extracted soon after your dentist has determined they can’t save it. If your tooth is infected, the infection can spread downward into the jawbone. If your tooth is damaged, there is a higher chance of bacteria getting in and infecting your tooth.

After an extraction, a replacement is necessary to maintain the health of your gums, jawbone, and surrounding teeth. Over time the jawbone may deteriorate. The surrounding, healthy teeth will likely shift and migrate. This can lead to impacting, crowding, and crookedness—which can make proper oral healthcare difficult. This, in turn, can lead to more decay, infection, and even extractions.

As soon as you notice an issue early, set an appointment. If the problem is below the gumline, a crown lengthening procedure may be the perfect solution to get to the problem and resolve it.

Ongoing Care

Once the teeth lengthening process is complete, the decay can be removed and/or a dental crown can be placed. If you underwent the procedure for cosmetic reasons, you’ll find that you have a full smile with a healthy amount of gums. By undergoing this procedure, you have avoided an extraction and the need to install dental implants or a dental bridge.

In order to avoid this procedure in the future, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your dentist for every six months moving forward for a cleaning and checkup. They will be able to perform x-rays to ensure your teeth are healthy both above and below the gumline. They’ll also perform a visual exam. If you had teeth lengthening, they will make sure the area where it was performed is healed up and is healthy. If you have a damaged tooth or teeth, reach out to your dentist as soon as possible. If it is damaged below the gumline, you may need a tooth lengthening procedure to fix the issue.

By brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth twice a day, every day, you may be able to avoid more advanced dental procedures. With that said, damage to a tooth generally cannot be avoided and simply needs to be addressed when it occurs.

If you don’t already have an appointment in the books for your next cleaning and checkup, contact Oxboro Dental today.