When patients visit Centre Cosmetic Dentistry in State College, they often assume the treatment they receive will be focused on their teeth. However, dentists are skilled practitioners who are trained to offer a variety of treatments to ensure the health of all oral and facial structures. Commonly, we need to provide procedures that remove, reshape, or improve the health of your gums. One of these soft-tissue focused procedures is called crown lengthening, and it is used as a preparation before placing a dental restoration and as a cosmetic dentistry solution to improve the appearance of patients’ smiles.
Why Would I Need Crown Lengthening?
The name hints at the main reason patients receive crown lengthening. This procedure is used to prepare the smile to receive a restoration, like a dental crown or fixed bridge. Following dental damage or decay, there may not be enough tooth structure above the natural gum line to support the crown, fixed bridge, porcelain veneer, or other restoration. Rather than extracting and replacing the tooth, we may use crown lengthening to reveal more healthy, natural tooth structure. In order to ensure your smile looks healthy and even, we need to slightly adjust not just the gums around a single tooth but the way the line of the gums looks. We remove a precise amount of tissue from surrounding teeth to ensure your smile line remains even.
Is Gum Recontouring Different than Crown Lengthening?
Both gum recontouring and crown lengthening procedures are very similar. However, gum recontouring is performed for purely cosmetic purposes. When patients visit us with teeth that look short or a smile that looks gummy, gum recontouring may be their best bet. Like crown lengthening, the gum line is reshaped through the removal of a small amount of gum tissue, which leaves patients with gorgeous smiles.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Depending on the extent of the patient’s need, oral health and overall health condition, and the dentist’s qualifications, crown lengthening may be completed using a scalpel and sutures or with a dental laser. Before we begin this process, we need to determine which technique will best suit your unique situation. Most dentists and patients alike prefer to use laser treatment that reduces discomfort and bleeding, promotes fast healing, and decreases risk for infection. Regardless of which method is chosen, we begin by numbing the area to be treated. Then, we carefully remove excess soft tissue and reshape the gum line. When necessary, the dentist stitches the remaining gum tissue together. When dental lasers are used, this step is typically not required.
Following your crown lengthening or gum recontouring appointment, you should experience little, if any, swelling and discomfort. If you are in a great deal of pain or have severe dental sensitivity, please contact us right away. We’ll do our utmost to relieve pain and get the smile back on your face. Finally, we schedule a followup appointment. When you visit us about a week after your procedure, we examine the treatment area to ensure you have completely healed. If your crown lengthening procedure was done in preparation for the placement of a restoration, we’ll continue the treatment process at your follow up appointment.