What Is Crown Lengthening?

Team Oral Surgery

Crown lengthening is a periodontal procedure that removes gum tissue to expose more of a tooth. This procedure may be necessary before you get a crown, bridge, or root canal treatment, or it can be an elective cosmetic treatment to improve the appearance of a “gummy” smile. Below, we’ll discuss what you should know about crown lengthening and what you can expect from the procedure.

What Happens During Crown Lengthening 

Whether you’re getting crown lengthening for dental or cosmetic reasons, the treatment is straightforward and performed right in our office. To make sure you are comfortable throughout, we use local anesthetic to numb all of the areas where we’re working. Excess gum tissue is removed, and a small piece of the bone that supports your tooth may be removed as well, if needed. The gums are sutured in place after being rinsed with salt water, and a bandage is often placed to protect the area and promote healing.

Crown lengthening costs vary depending on the number of teeth being treated. If you’re getting crown lengthening for cosmetic reasons, you may want to have the treatment done on all of the teeth that are visible when you smile, which is more costly than crown lengthening to place a dental restoration because this typically only involves treating one tooth.

What to Expect After Crown Lengthening

The local anesthetic will wear off in the hours following your crown lengthening procedure, and as feeling in your gums returns, you will experience soreness and swelling. Most people choose to stay home for the rest of the day after their surgery to relax, although if you wish to go back to work after your appointment, there’s no medical reason not to. Of course, if you work in a job that requires a lot of social interaction with the public or coworkers, you might not feel up to it following your crown lengthening.

To promote healing, relieve discomfort, and prevent infection, use the pain relievers and mouth rinse we prescribe as instructed. Although your gums can take 4-12 weeks to fully heal after crown lengthening, most patients are able to return to their regular activities soon after the procedure. You can resume heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and physically demanding jobs or tasks after two or three days. 

If you need crown lengthening for a bridge or dental crown, you’ll usually have to wait for your gums to heal before these procedures, but we will work with your restorative dentist to decide on the best timing.  

The Bottom Line

Crown lengthening is a safe, effective periodontal procedure that’s been used successfully for decades. If you need crown lengthening to prepare for a dental restoration, exposing more of the tooth will result in a more stable restoration that is less prone to failure. Patients who choose crown lengthening for aesthetics often spend their whole lives feeling self-conscious about their smiles, so for them, the procedure is well-worth the cost for the confidence it brings.

Learn More About Crown Lengthening

Are you considering a crown lengthening procedure? Contact us today to learn more about what you can expect from this treatment and whether it’s the right option for you.