Crown lengthening is a procedure intended to expose more of a tooth. It can be done for cosmetic purposes to make your smile look more natural, or for dental health purposes to restore a tooth with a crown. In some cases, the enamel is worn down or broken off too close to the gums for a crown to fit. Crown lengthening removes a small amount of gum tissue so that there is room for a crown.
What is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is the process of removing some of the gum tissue that is covering one or more teeth. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area before the tissue is removed so that you won’t feel any discomfort. In many cases a dental laser is used for crown lengthening because it minimizes bleeding and allows the tissue to heal more quickly.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cover placed over a tooth. It is most commonly used when the enamel has been worn down from tooth decay or bruxism (teeth grinding). A tooth that is cracked or broken may also need a crown. Crowns are most commonly made of porcelain because it is strong enough to withstand the force of chewing and it resembles natural tooth enamel.
Why is Crown Lengthening Necessary for a Crown?
In some cases there is not enough tooth material left for a crown to be attached. In these situations, crown lengthening can sometimes make it possible to have a crown placed when it would otherwise not be possible. Without a crown restoration, the tooth would need to be extracted and replaced with a bridge or dental implant.
How Long Before the Tooth is Ready for a Crown?
After crown lengthening there will be a healing period before your permanent crown can be created. This is because there will most likely be some swelling of the gum tissue after the procedure that could affect the size and shape of the permanent crown. A temporary crown may be placed over the tooth after the crown lengthening procedure to protect the remaining enamel and to provide a natural appearance while the gum tissue heals. It could be anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months before your permanent crown can be placed.
Benefits of Crown Lengthening for Dental Crowns
There are many benefits of crown lengthening for the purpose of fitting a dental crown, including:
- Restores the tooth. If a tooth can be restored with a crown, it is typically in your best interest. Having a crown placed over a tooth is a much simpler procedure than having the tooth extracted and replaced, and it costs less.
- Saves the natural root. The natural root of the tooth remains in place when a tooth is restored with a crown. This gives it a solid base of support that looks and functions naturally.
- Improves dental health. Restoring one or more damaged teeth with crowns allows all of the teeth to function properly. It takes the excess force of chewing off of the other teeth so that it is more evenly distributed.
Where Can I Get Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is a procedure most often performed by a periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in treating the support structures for the teeth, primarily the gums. Holzinger Periodontics & Dental Implants offers crown lengthening procedures in preparation for crown placement or for cosmetic purposes.
To learn more, contact us today and schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.