Crown lengthening can minimize the amount of gum that’s viewable in your smile and can make teeth look longer.
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If you’re bothered by a “gummy” smile or teeth that you feel are too small, you may want to consider crown lengthening. This cosmetic dentistry procedure can beautify your smile by exposing more of your teeth.
What Is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is an oral surgery treatment that involves removing excess gum tissue, and possibly some bone, around the upper teeth to make them look longer. It’s a common procedure performed by dentists, or gum specialists.
“If the gum line is uneven, crown lengthening can also sculpt the gum line to produce a more symmetrical smile,” says Dr. Harms. Crown lengthening may be done for dental care and medical reasons as well as for the cosmetic effect. If there’s decay or fracture under the gum line, for example, crown lengthening can help expose more of the tooth’s crown in order to support a filling or porcelain crown.
What Does Crown Lengthening Involve?
Crown lengthening involves oral surgery performed under local anesthesia. After the area is numbed, the dentist makes small cuts to pull the gums away from the teeth and remove excess gum. In some cases, removing gum tissue is all that is needed to expose more of the crown. But if there is too much soft tissue and bone covering the crown, a tiny bit of bone may need to be taken out, too. After the surgery is completed, the gums are washed with sterile salt water and stitched up.
Unlike many cosmetic dentistry treatments, crown lengthening only needs to be done once, with no requirement for touch-ups down the road. The surgery can usually be completed in 30 minutes to an hour..
Following surgery, you’ll be given a prescription for a pain reliever and instructed to use ice to reduce any swelling. You’ll want to eat a diet of fairly soft foods and brush your teeth carefully in the area near the stitches, which will come out in 7 to 10 days. Complete healing of the gums can take up to three months, however. At that point, you may opt to have veneers or another cosmetic dentistry procedure done, such as bonding or tooth whitening.
If you have excessive or uneven gums, crown lengthening can transform your smile and give you just the right look — and as an added bonus, it may just improve your overall dental health as well.