Crown Lengthening FAQs

What is crown lengthening?

There are two types of crown lengthening: Functional & Aesthetic.

Functional Crown Lengthening

Functional crown lengthening is indicated when there is not enough clinical tooth structure above the gum line for your dentist to place a crown. This occurs when a tooth has a deep cavity or when the tooth fractures. The dentist needs to be able to seal the tooth in order to create a lasting restoration. When the dentist cannot access the base of the cavity or the edge of the crown will be too close to the bone then functional crown lengthening is indicated.

The body likes to maintain a harmonious relationship between gum, tooth, and bone. If a crown margin is placed too deep and is too close to the bone, the body will respond to the crown like it is a foreign object. There will be chronic inflammation, bleeding, and bone loss in a pattern that is similar to periodontal disease. In fact, over time there will be periodontal disease in the area because you now have inflammation and bone loss
which will continue.

Therefore, functional crown lengthening is performed to help the dentist reach the base of the cavity and keep the area healthy so that it does not break down to periodontal disease which would eventually lead to tooth loss.

Aesthetic Crown Lengthening

Aesthetic crown lengthening is indicated when the teeth appear too short or a “gummy smile.” I will take a special x-ray and do an exam to see if there is more tooth under the gums that have not been exposed naturally. The body likes to maintain a relationship with the tooth, bone, and gum tissue. Naturally by the time we are 15 years old passive eruption has occurred. This is when the gum naturally follows the bone and the full length of the tooth is exposed. When passive eruption has not occurred (by age 15) the teeth will appear short and the smile will be overly “gummy”. This relationship will not change until aesthetic crown lengthening is performed.

Does crown lengthening hurt?

Crown lengthening is a routine procedure performed daily in my office. You will be made to feel very comfortable if you need some form of sedation. After that, the area that will be treated will be anesthetized with a local anesthetic. You will not feel any part of the procedure. After the procedure, you will be using a special rinse to keep the area clean. Antibiotics and ibuprofen will be prescribed for you. Please eat softer foods and stay away from chewing in that area for a few days. The stitches will dissolve on their own.

How long does it take to heal after crown lengthening?

You will begin to heal immediately. I will see you to check your healing. At 2 weeks you will resume eating and brushing normally. The dentist can proceed to make the crown 2 weeks after that.

What and when can I eat after crown lengthening?

You can eat immediately after the numbness wears off. Do not chew in the area that was treated and keep your food on the softer side for 2 weeks.

When can I brush after crown lengthening?

You will use a special mouth rinse to keep you clean. You will begin to brush and floss the rest of your mouth and avoid the area that I worked on after 24 hours. In two weeks, the stitches will be dissolved and you will resume normal brushing and flossing.

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