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17 February 2014

Crown Lengthening for Short Teeth

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure which involves the surgical removal of bone tissue, gum tissue or both to show more of a tooth’s structure, typically, so that it can be restored to health. Increasingly, it has also been used to cosmetically correct a “gummy smile.”

The procedure may be required when a tooth breaks off at the gum line, leaving not enough of it at the top of the gum line to hold and support a crown or filling. It may also be needed when a crown or filling falls out of a tooth and underneath it there is already some decay. To place or replace the filling or crown, the dentist may have to expose more of the tooth by removing some gum tissue, bone or both.

While crown lengthening is mainly recommended for dental health reasons, it has also been used as a sort of “gum lift” by cosmetic dentists to sculpt the gum line to make short teeth seem longer or to make an uneven gum line look more symmetrical. However, unlike other cosmetic surgery procedures, crown lengthening will be done only once and will not require follow through touch-ups from time-to-time.

Crown lengthening surgery is not that complex that it can usually be done at your dentist’s office using local anesthesia or sedation dentistry. Like other dental surgical procedures, your dentist or periodontist will have to take x-rays and review your medical history before scheduling you for the operation. Preparatory to the actual surgery, you will get a thorough teeth cleaning from your dentist. If a tooth needs a crown, a temporary one will be placed to allow the dentist or periodontist to see more clearly how much soft tissue and/or bone will have to be removed. Then the area to be covered by the procedure will be anesthetised.

Once the surgical area is sanitized and anesthetised, the dentist or periodontist will make cuts to allow the gums to be pulled from the teeth and reveal the roots and the bone around. The dentist or periodontist will ascertain whether taking out some gum tissue will suffice to show adequate number of teeth to allow placement of the crown or filling. If not, he or she may need to extract some bone as well from the teeth’s roots. After the dentist or periodontist has exposed ample amount of teeth, he will wash the area with sterile salt water.

Following the surgical removal of the excess soft tissue and/or bone, the gums will be stitched together and set in place. In some cases, a bandage will be used to further cover the stitches. The dentist or periodontist will issue prescriptions for pain relievers and antibiotics as well as give instructions on how to clean the teeth and what food to eat for the few days after surgery. The patient will usually be asked to return in 7-10 days to have the stitches removed. Typically, healing will be complete within three months following the procedure.

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