Sometimes when you need a dental crown, there is not enough tooth exposed to place the crown. In these cases, a procedure called crown lengthening is required. This procedure helps to expose more of the crown of the tooth in order to place a dental crown, allowing you to keep your natural tooth. There are several reasons that patients require crown lengthening including excessive tooth decay and a broken tooth. Either way, the bottom line is the same; there needs to be more surface for the dental crown to adhere to in order to ensure a strong tooth.
The Crown Lengthening Procedure
Crown lengthening is considered a surgery, but it is done right in the dental office with local anesthesia. The procedure is started by cutting away at the gums that surround the tooth that needs to be lengthened. In some cases, a portion of the bone also needs to be removed in order to expose more of the tooth. Once the tooth is exposed, the gums are put back together and your tooth is given time to heal before the dental crown is placed. This usually takes a few weeks in order for the swelling to subside and the nerves inside your tooth to calm down from the activity of the surgery.
After Your Crown Lengthening Procedure
The care after crown lengthening is fairly straightforward. You will need to avoid brushing the gums in the area that was just operated on, but regular routine oral health care should continue. You also might be given a special mouth rinse to use in order to prevent infection and to promote healing of the area. Once the area is completely healed, you will be able to obtain your dental crown and have full use of your tooth once again.