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When a patient’s teeth are obstructed by excess gum tissue, the effect is sometimes referred to as a “gummy smile.” Not only is this a common aesthetic dental concern, but the appearance of a gummy smile can often be reduced with the proper treatment. In many cases, excess or uneven gum tissue can be addressed using a method called “crown lengthening.” This procedure can bring out the natural beauty of your smile or facilitate the placement of a restoration.
Simply put, crown lengthening is a dental procedure designed to reduce gum tissue in order to expose the tooth underneath. It can be performed as a standalone procedure or as part of a larger treatment plan, such as the placement of a dental crown when bone material is insufficient. Alternatively, crown lengthening may be recommended as part of a procedure to repair a tooth which is severely decayed or broken above the gum line.
The crown lengthening process often begins with an X-ray and exam to determine whether this is the best course of action. The timeline for treatment may vary depending on whether a crown or other type of restoration is needed, but in general, crown lengthening can be completed in a single treatment session. Laser dentistry techniques are often used to perform the gum recontouring process, which are known to offer more precise results and an improved recovery.
To begin the procedure, the teeth and surrounding gum tissue are typically cleaned. Then the gum line can be recontoured, which may involve adjusting the gums’ position and reducing excess tissue. If necessary, a small part of the bone may also be removed to create space for a restoration.
During the procedure, a numbing agent is usually applied to the treatment area to minimize the potential for discomfort. For individuals who are undergoing more complex treatment or for those who suffer from severe dental anxiety, sedation dentistry options may be available to help you feel more at-ease throughout the process.
The use of a laser in periodontal care often limits discomfort during the recovery from crown lengthening, and little to no downtime is typically necessary. Over-the-counter pain medications are often all patients need to relieve post-treatment discomfort. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid touching the area, eating hard or hot foods, or brushing vigorously in the days directly following your treatment. More in-depth aftercare instructions are typically provided to help you obtain a smooth recovery after crown lengthening.
The cost of crown lengthening is contingent upon several factors. For instance, the number of teeth being treated, the techniques being utilized, and the addition of other procedures can all heavily impact the final price. Once your dentist has determined a plan for your treatment, you can ask for a cost estimate to help you budget for your procedure.
To learn more about how you can improve the look of your smile, or to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists, please contact Cornerstone Dental today.