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Downtown Dental Excellence offers Crown Lengthening in Cleveland, TX

For certain procedures, your gums may get in the way of your teeth being repaired. Instead of simply pulling the tooth, though, dentists will often perform a crown lengthening procedure. This procedure allows them to fix the damaged tooth, while still keeping a good portion of the original tooth.

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What is Crown Lengthening?

While sometimes damage to a tooth is easy to get to (like when it is above the gum line), other times the damage or decay is below the gum line—making it more difficult to reach and resolve. When this is the case, a dentist may decide to perform what is called a “crown lengthening.” While technically a crown cannot be elongated, the procedure involves more of a tooth being exposed above the gum line—giving the appearance of the crown being longer than it was. This procedure helps a dentist to get to certain areas of the tooth much easier to repair damage below the gum line.

What is the Crown of a Tooth?

The tooth is made up of a few different parts. The “crown” of the tooth refers to the area of the tooth that sits above the gum line. Any dental procedures that involve the crown involve this part of the tooth.

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Why would I need Crown Lengthening?

There are a few different dental procedures that may require a dentist to expose more of the tooth and “lengthen” the crown. Some of these include:

Gummy Smile

A “gummy smile” is shorthand for a cosmetic issue that involves a patient having gums that cover an excessive amount of the teeth. While this isn’t cosmetically appealing for a lot of patients, it can also be bad for a patient’s oral health. Patients with a “gummy smile” may be more susceptible to periodontal infections. Because of this, the patient may want to consider having the crown lengthened, and the gum tissue reshaped in a way that allows more of the tooth to be seen above the gum line.

Cavities

There are times where a cavity will form below the gum line in a way that is difficult for the dentist to reach. When this is the case, a crown lengthening procedure may be the best way for the dentist to reach the cavity. A dentist may lower the gum line of a tooth to better reach the cavity, clean the decay and restore the tooth.

Tooth Restoration

There are times when a tooth is broken or cracked in a way that reaches below the gum line. Instead of pulling the tooth, the dentist may decide to extend the crown to restore the tooth. This makes it easier to correct the damage, and avoid extraction.

Dental Crowns

During the restoration process, a dentist may decide that placing a dental crown is the best option for a patient’s oral care. If this is the case, the dentist may lengthen the crown in order to install the prosthetic crown in a way that avoids damaging the gum tissue.

What Does the Process of Crown Lengthening Involve?

The process of having a dental crown lengthened generally begins with the dentist checking the damage that has been done to a tooth, in order to see if they can repair and restore the tooth without having to adjust the gums. This is not the case for cosmetic changes to the gum line. Once the dentist has determined that they cannot repair the damage with the gum line where it is, they may opt for crown lengthening.

Before the procedure starts, the dentist will generally provide the patient with local anesthetic to avoid pain from the procedure. They will then make incisions around the soft tissue that allow them to separate the gums from the teeth. This gives the dentist access to the underlying bone and the roots. While the damage may only be to one tooth, the dentist will often reshape the surrounding teeth as well to make sure the reshaping is more even.

While the dentist will often remove a small amount of tissue, sometimes they will need to remove bone from around the teeth as well. In order to do this, rotary instruments and other special instruments may be used.

Once the procedure has been completed, the dentist uses intraoral (periodontal) bandages to prevent infection. Your dentist may also prescribe pain medication after the procedure. The length of the procedure varies on the amount of damage that needs to be repaired, how many teeth need to be repaired, whether bone needs to be removed and other factors.

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Healing and Aftercare

Healing of the area in which the surgery was performed will generally take around two to three months. Ice may be used to reduce swelling. You may also be required to eat softer foods for a little while after the surgery, and to be more careful when brushing around the area in which the surgery took place.

Am I a Candidate?

Dentists do what they can to avoid surgical procedures. If the repair of your tooth can be done without a crown lengthening, your dentist will likely avoid the crown lengthening procedure. There will be certain circumstances in which a crown lengthening is unavoidable, though. Your dentist will speak with you about your options, and whether or not a crown lengthening can resolve the oral health issue that you are suffering from.

If you have a “gummy smile,” you may speak with your dentist about the procedure as a form of cosmetic dentistry.

Costs Involved

The cost of your crown lengthening procedure will depend on a variety of factors—such as the amount of work that needed to be completed, any prosthetics that were placed and other variables. Generally the cost of a crown lengthening is between $1,000 and $4,000, though.

Your insurance may cover a portion of the costs of the crown lengthening procedure. Speak with your insurance company about coverage for a crown lengthening procedure. Crown lengthening allows the dentist to repair damage below the gum line. Your dentist will speak with you about crown lengthening if it is the right option for your procedure.