Crown Lengthening

Crown Lengthening

Crown Lengthening

San Luis Obispo, CA

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure that helps restore a tooth when there is not much enamel left. Also called caps, crowns restore the appearance and function of badly-damaged teeth. The crown lengthening process allows dentists to attach crowns to teeth that would not be able to hold one otherwise.

The procedure involves the dentist making the damaged tooth longer by recontouring gum or bone tissues to expose more of the tooth. Our periodontist can perform the procedure to help meet your desire and keep you healthy. The restored tooth can then be fitted with a crown once the gums have settled into their new position.

Call us at 805-952-1147 to schedule an appointment and learn more about crown lengthening today.

Understanding Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening can prepare damaged teeth for crowns, while also addressing gummy smiles or tooth decay below the gumline. A patient has a gummy smile when more gum tissue than normal is visible when they smile. That can ruin the appearance of the person's smile and make their teeth appear short. In such cases, crown lengthening can create a more natural-looking smile.

When a dentist notices a patient has a damaged tooth that is too small to be fitted with a crown, crown lengthening might be necessary. The patient may be fitted with a temporary crown while they wait for the procedure.

The periodontist performing the treatment will go over the patient's medical history and a list of any medications they are taking. X-rays will help to analyze how much tooth material is underneath the gums.

The Lengthening Process

Crown lengthening is an outpatient treatment. The dentist will inject the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic that keeps the area numb while the dentist works. Any temporary crowns installed are removed before the dentist starts the procedure. The periodontist will cut into the patient's gums and pull them downwards away from the tooth.

We may also need to shave down bone structures during the treatment. The periodontist cleans the area with a saline solution before suturing the patient's gums back together. Patients will experience some discomfort and pain once the local anesthetic used wears off. The periodontist will prescribe pain killers to help manage the pain.

Depending on the patient's risk of infection, we may prescribe antibiotics. Patients might notice bleeding from the surgery site afterward, and their teeth might be more sensitive to cold and hot foods. The treated tooth might appear longer than the remaining teeth, and it might feel loose if we had to remove bone tissues.

Recovering from a Crown Lengthening Procedure

Most patients need about three months to recover from the crown lengthening process fully. Most people will be able to return to most of their routine activities in a few days. Here are some tips for people who are recovering from crown lengthening:

Use Any Prescribed Medication as Directed

Patients may need to take any antibiotics or pain medication prescribed as recommended by their dentist. The medication can help to relieve pain and soreness while the patient recovers.

Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack

Applying a cold compress to the cheek area where we performed the crown lengthening can help to reduce swelling. The cold pack should be used in 20-minute intervals on and off. A heat pack can help with the recovery process once a few days have passed.

Stay Away from Hot Foods and Drinks

The patient's mouth will be sensitive after crown lengthening. Hot foods or drinks can aggravate the area, making the bleeding worse. Patients should avoid hot foods and drinks for at least the first 24 hours after gum surgery.

Keep the Dressing on For Up to Two Weeks

The dentist might opt to replace the dressing used to cover the surgical site. The dressing should be left intact for the first two weeks.

Brush the Teeth More Gently

Brushing vigorously can wear down any dressing and aggravate the surgical site. We can go over how to brush teeth gently before the procedure.

Eat Soft Foods

Patients should stick to liquid and soft foods for the first week after surgery. Try eating with the other side of the mouth when possible.

Avoid Bad Habits and Irritating the Surgical Site

Patients should refrain from smoking and drinking, leading up to and after their crown lengthening treatment. Patients should avoid touching the surgical site with their fingers or tongues. Objects like straws can also irritate the area, so avoid using them.

Crown Lengthening can Save Your Tooth

Crown lengthening treatments allow you to save your tooth by covering it with a crown. Dr. Sayre-Carstairs is a periodontist who can help to restore your smile. Give us a call at 805-952-1147 to learn more and schedule an appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is crown lengthening recommended?

Crown lengthening can help when a tooth is too short to be fitted with a crown, to expose tooth decay below the gumline or to treat gummy smiles. The process involves removing gum tissue or shaving down bone structures.

Is crown lengthening painful?

No. The periodontist administers a shot of a local anesthetic at the start of the treatment. Patients will deal with some discomfort and pain afterward. The worst of it should be over in about three days.

How long does it take to recover from crown lengthening?

It can take up to two weeks to recover from the treatment. Dentists recommend taking it easy for the first few days after the treatment. Most patients can return to their routine after that.

Can gum tissues regrow after crown lengthening?

Yes. Gum tissues can regrow after crown lengthening treatment. When that occurs, follow-up treatment can help get rid of the new tissue growth if it ruins the aesthetics of the patient's teeth.

How long is the waiting period between getting crown lengthening and having a crown attached to the tooth?

Patients might have to wait up to six weeks for their gums to settle before getting a crown. The waiting period might be longer if the tooth is in a highly visible part of the mouth.