Crown lengthening is a common surgical procedure that we perform here at Shenandoah Family Dentistry. In this procedure, we remove some gum tissue, bone, or sometimes both. This is done to expose more of your tooth.
Why Crown Lengthening Is Used
Crown lengthening is a way of fixing your tooth when there isn’t enough of it sticking out above your gums to support a filling or a crown. This usually happens when your tooth breaks off at the gumline or if your crown or filling falls out because the tooth beneath it is decayed. The procedure is conducted because we need more of your tooth to place your new crown on.
Understanding the Crown Lengthening Procedure
At your initial visit, we will take x-rays and professionally clean your teeth. If you need a crown, we may put on a temporary crown to protect your tooth. This also makes the surgery easier because it lets us see how much soft tissue or bone we’ll need to remove.
On the day of your surgery, we’ll remove any temporary crowns and give you some local anesthesia, so you don’t feel anything when we make a few cuts that will pull your gums away from your teeth. We’ll then remove some bone from around the tooth. Now your tooth’s roots and its surrounding bone will be exposed so that we can put a crown on it. Before closing the “wound” with stitches, we’ll wash it out with sterile salt water. Sometimes we’ll also place a bandage over these stitches.
Recovering From Crown Lengthening
We will give you a prescription pain reliever and mouthwash to use after your procedure. It’s also important to eat a somewhat soft diet and avoid your gums when brushing your teeth—use a toothpick or a water irrigator to remove food particles from that area instead.
For the first few hours after the surgery, you’ll need to put some ice on the side of your face where your surgery was. This will reduce swelling.
We’ll have you come back in 7–10 days to remove your stitches. After another 4–6 weeks we’ll want to see you for a follow-up appointment. It’ll take about three months for your complete healing. At that time we’ll place a permanent crown.
As you heal, you’ll want to watch for infection or complications to occur. During this time your tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold foods since its roots are now exposed—this will eventually go away though. There are also some rare things that you may experience. If you experience any of these things, you’ll want to call us immediately. This includes bleeding that doesn’t stop; pain that isn’t controlled by the pain reliever; extensive swelling; discharge; a loose bandage (or one that falls off); or tender lumps under your lower jaw or in your neck (a.k.a. swollen lymph nodes).
At Shenandoah Family Dentistry we’ve done many crown lengthening procedures. We can handle yours with great care too. Just give us a call at (540) 667-8731 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to seeing you.