When you smile, the visible portion of your tooth is your dental crown. But, what if we told you that approximately two-thirds of your tooth gets hidden beneath your gumline? Sometimes, this structure can create a smile that makes it seem as if you have shorter teeth than normal. Often, it’s not the size of the teeth that’s the problem, it’s the excess gum tissue.
At Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental in Beaumont, California, Daniel Park, DDS, provides the highest quality general, aesthetic, and periodontic dentistry services to his patients. If you have a gummy smile, here’s how crown lengthening could help.
How crown lengthening works
Crown lengthening doesn’t make your teeth longer. Instead, the procedure makes your gums smaller.
In most cases, people with gummy teeth have more than 3 millimeters of exposed gum tissue, causing less of the crown to show. To correct this issue, Dr. Park removes the extra soft tissue while being careful to preserve enough healthy gum tissue to provide a solid structure at the same time.
Dr. Park can use different techniques to perform this procedure, and he can address one tooth or your entire gumline. In addition to improving your smile, crown lengthening can also help with other dental issues, such as exposing:
- A fractured area of a tooth so it can be treated
- A cavity hidden beneath the gumline so it can be treated
- More tooth area for fitting oral devices, such as dental bridges
Before determining the best crown lengthening approach, Dr. Park always performs a presurgical analysis to assess your gums, teeth, and surrounding structures.
What to expect during crown lengthening
When undergoing crown lengthening to improve the appearance of your smile, it’s important to have healthy gums and good oral health before your procedure. During your presurgical analysis, Dr. Park looks for any potential issues and determines the new location for your gumline.
Based on your presurgical analysis, Dr. Park could recommend three possible techniques.
With this procedure, Dr. Park removes excess gum tissue with a scalpel, laser, or electrocautery.
Apically repositioned flap surgery
With this procedure, Dr. Park makes an incision in the gum tissue to remove excess tissue and sometimes bone. Then he repositions the flap of tissue closer to the tooth root and stitches it in place.
With this procedure, Dr. Park moves the tooth itself to the ideal location in the gum tissue and secures the tooth and gum tissue with stitches or splints while you heal. This approach is more common when treating a tooth with a fracture beneath the gumline requiring.
Each of these crown lengthening techniques require local anesthesia, so you won’t experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Recovering from crown lengthening
Dr. Park can provide detailed instructions and guidance on the recovery process from crown lengthening, depending on which technique you need.
In general, you can expect to have some pain or discomfort as your anesthesia wears off, along with minor swelling and bleeding for a few days. Dr. Park typically recommends taking anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers and using cold compresses to help manage any discomfort in the days following surgery.
You’ll also need to avoid strenuous activity for 2-3 days, follow a soft diet, and rinse your mouth with water after eating. Dr. Park will provide personalized care instructions to help ensure the best results while you heal.
In most cases, it takes approximately three months to completely recover from crown lengthening procedures.
Are you looking for ways to improve your smile? Dr. Park can help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Beaumont Cherry Valley Dental today.