Esthetic Crown Lengthening
Most patients choose esthetic crown lengthening for cosmetic reasons. Physical attractiveness always comes down to proportions. The perfect hourglass figure, da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, even the beauty of a smile, they’re all based on proportions. In the case of your smile, one of these is the tooth to gum ratio: how much gum, compared to tooth length, is visible when you smile.
Commonly called crown lengthening, this procedure involves extending the visible portion of your tooth. Beyond esthetics, this procedure provides stability for dental procedures such as crowns to treat broken or decayed teeth.
Why Choose Esthetic Crown Lengthening?
This common procedure produces dramatic results. Patients often choose it after a lifetime of hiding their smile because they feel their teeth look unnaturally short. In these cases, excess gum tissue is the culprit, and it leaves the patient susceptible to gum disease. Removing this excess tissue not only creates a more balanced, proportioned look, but it also lowers the risk of periodontal disease.
The procedure also restores teeth damaged by decay, periodontitis, or trauma. Teeth that break beneath the gum line, for instance, must undergo crown lengthening to provide a basis for repair. It also provides greater support for dental crowns, ensuring the crown does not damage gum or bone tissue.
What to Expect Before the Procedure
During your initial consultation, your doctor reviews your x-rays and medical history. He or she may also clean your teeth and decide a temporary crown is necessary to protect a damaged tooth. During this consult, ask any questions you have and follow your dentist’s advice prior to your procedure. One question to ask is how long he or she estimates the procedure will take, as time varies depending on the number of teeth and if you require a small amount of bone removal.
A crown lengthening procedure takes place under local anesthetic. If you have dental crowns in place already, your doctor removes those and then replaces them following the procedure. Next he or she makes numerous small incisions to the area’s soft tissue, separating gums from teeth to provide access to root and bone. Even when only a single tooth requires work, surrounding teeth receive treatment as well. This ensures a uniform appearance.
Depending on the amount of crown lengthening required, your dentist may only remove a small amount of tissue. If necessary, he or she may remove a small amount of bone surrounding the tooth or teeth. To remove bone, your dentist uses a tool similar to the drill used to treat cavities.
Before closing and suturing the incisions, the dentist cleans the area with sterile water. After closing, your doctor applies a bandage to stop bleeding and prevent infection. He or she may prescribe a medication to control pain as well as an antibiotic or mouth rinse to fight infection. Healing takes two to three months.
In the hours immediately following surgery, apply ice to minimize swelling and bruising. Follow your dentist’s hygiene instructions exactly to ensure proper oral care of both the affected teeth and the rest of your mouth.
Your first follow-up appointment happens approximately one week after the procedure, during which your periodontist removes your stitches. A second follow-up visit takes place four to six weeks later. Crowns may be fitted when healing completes, approximately two months after your second follow-up visit.
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