Crown Lengthening Sydney
Dental crowns are needed by many for structural and aesthetic purposes, ranging from protecting a cracked tooth to straightening the appearance of your smile. However, steps such as a crown lengthening procedure are sometimes required before a dental crown can be fitted for maximum comfort and security.
By reconstructing gum tissue and occasionally bone in the jawline, more tooth structure can be exposed to provide dental crowns with enough surface to attach properly. This simple procedure is an extremely helpful step for many looking to achieve a symmetrical smile once more or may be interested in altering the appearance of their ‘gummy smile’.
What is Crown Lengthening?
The crown lengthening procedure focuses on exposing more of a tooth structure by removing gum tissue surgically. This is usually directed above the gum line, especially for those looking into crown lengthening procedures to remove excess gum tissue that creates a gummy smile.
In the case that a patient is experiencing issues with gum disease or the health of their natural tooth, a crown lengthening surgery may be required to prevent all-out tooth decay.
For those who require dental crowns and do not have enough exposed tooth structure for attachment, however, crown lengthening treatments focus more on exposing additional enamel surface. This is preparation for the surgical procedure performed for applying a dental crown rather than an aesthetic or restorative dental procedure like that of a gummy smile or gum recession.
Why undergo Crown Lengthening treatment?
Although not everyone requires crown lengthening surgery for the well-being of their teeth, many may find this procedure necessary for the health of their gums and surrounding teeth. By reducing excess gum tissue and even shaving down bone to expose more tooth structure, areas of concern, such as cavities or cracked enamel, can be better seen and treated. This includes cases of cracked or broken areas that require a dental crown for the protection and health of your natural tooth.
Crown lengthening surgery is also beneficial when the gum line has begun receding, although it focuses more on shortening the length of the tooth structure exposed than lengthening it. The soft tissue of your gum line can be fully restored to its original length through surgical procedures, preventing an overabundance of exposed teeth and thus creating a more symmetrical smile.
The term ‘gummy smile’ refers to smiles that have an excess of gum tissue that can prevent the symmetry and appearance of your teeth. The excess gum tissue commonly creates an image of small teeth due to their growth across the enamel. This may be caused genetically, especially in the case of having a larger upper jaw than usual, but an overabundance of gum tissue can also be caused by:
- Hyperactivity in the lip that causes more gum tissue to be exposed while smiling.
- Teeth that have erupted from the gum line too far downward, bringing the gums along with them.
- A larger-than-normal upper jaw.
- The tooth’s enamel is worn down over time, causing shrinkage.
- Poor dental hygiene.
Fortunately, any excess amounts of gum tissue can be removed and shaped through crown lengthening techniques, restoring the teeth-to-root ratio once more.
If you require a dental crown for the health and protection of your teeth but do not have enough exposed tooth surface to adhere the crown to, you may require crown lengthening surgery beforehand to prep the tooth. By utilising crown lengthening procedures to pull back the gum line and provide more surface area, the dental crown will have sufficient space for proper attachment.
By ensuring that a dental crown is securely attached, you can experience greater comfort and oral hygiene than that associated with a poorly fitted one.
Receding gums are a cause for concern as they can expose the roots of your teeth, causing increased temperature sensitivity and changes to your smile’s appearance. Gum recession can be caused in various ways, with the most common ones being:
- Gum disease.
- Excessive flossing or brushing, especially when done with too much force.
- An excessive amount of frenal attachments.
The appearance of longer teeth and increased sensitivity can be addressed through crown lengthening procedures. Namely, a gum graft to the affected area when the issue of gum recession is particularly severe.
What does a Crown Lengthening procedure involve?
Crown lengthening surgery is not considered an invasive procedure, generally only requiring local anaesthetic. There are multiple different procedures that can be used for the crown lengthening process, each targeting a specific dental concern.
Before the procedure can begin, there are some steps you will be required to take for optimal results and the protection of your teeth and gums.
Your dentist will require your medical history and dental x-rays before any crown lengthening procedure can be undertaken to ensure they have the full picture of your dental needs. During this consultation, you should also inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking to ensure that there is no conflict with the local anaesthesia and medications you will need to take. You may need to temporarily stop taking a certain medication if the dentist notices any issues.
If you are undergoing a crown lengthening surgery to prepare for the attachment of a dental crown, you may be required to wear a temporary crown after your initial consultation until the permanent one can be placed. This will protect the damaged tooth and make the permanent placement smoother. While this temporary crown will be removed during the lengthening procedure, it will have to be replaced again.
Otherwise, it is important to maintain and protect your oral health as much as possible leading up to the dental procedure.
Depending on how your gums are shaped, what areas of your teeth they need to be removed from, and your desired end smile, your dentist can perform different crown lengthening procedures.
We will discuss your choices in the initial consultation, and your dentist will walk you through the process of your intended procedure beforehand so you can get a full picture of how your smile will be transformed.
Common procedures that are involved include:
- Apically Repositioned Flap Surgery: A gingivectomy shortens the height of your gums by removing specific tissue with a laser, scalpel, or electrically-heated instrument. Local anaesthesia is typically used during this procedure; only a few days are needed for recovery. The soft tissue should be completely healed within 4-6 weeks with proper care.
- Bone Grafting: If insufficient supporting jaw bone is insufficient for successful dental implant surgery, bone grafting will be necessary to regrow the lost bone tissue. The graft is introduced to your own bone, encouraging additional growth over the next 3-9 months. By the end, you will have a stronger bone volume to support the installation of your implant.
- Gingivectomy (Gum Contouring): A gingivectomy shortens the height of your gums by removing specific tissue with a laser, scalpel, or electrically-heated instrument. Local anaesthesia is typically used during this procedure; only a few days are needed for recovery. The soft tissue should completely heal within 4-6 weeks with proper care.
- Gingival-Coloured Composite Resin: Receding gums can also be addressed by applying gingival-coloured composite resin to the affected sites. This resin covers the roots of your teeth and is colour-matched to your gums to improve their appearance seamlessly. This option is best for those who do not want to undergo surgery as required for a gum tissue graft.
- Surgical Extrusion: The tooth structure itself is targeted in the procedure rather than the gums, with a tooth being repositioned to be further above your gum line. This is typically done when the tooth itself has been cracked or damaged somehow and will usually require stitches for the healing process.
- Tissue Grafts: Gum recession can be addressed through a gum tissue graft, which is performed by three different surgical techniques. These are connective tissue grafts, pedicle grafts, and free gingival grafts. Your dentist will inform you of which technique is best suited for your gums and the specifics of each procedure.
- Tissue Stimulation: Gum tissue can also be regenerated after bone grafting surgery through tissue-stimulating proteins. Once your soft tissue has been treated for bacteria growth or gum recession, these proteins can stimulate growth to restore damaged or lost tissue.
Aftercare and Recovery
It is vital that you take care of your teeth and gums once your procedure has been completed, regardless of what kind of crown lengthening surgery you have undergone. Most procedures will leave you with minor pain, bleeding, and swelling for the first few days post-surgery, but these symptoms quickly subside with proper care.
Your dentist will provide you with specific aftercare instructions for your surgical procedure, but most procedures will require you to:
- Take anti-inflammatory medication
- Avoid strenuous activity for 2-3 days.
- Keep the surgical site clean with an antiseptic mouthwash after the bleeding has finished.
- Bring down the swelling with a cold compress or ice pack.
- Eat only soft foods, making sure to chew on the unaffected side.
- Avoid eating foods with extreme hot and cold temperatures for the first 24 hours.
- Gently brush only the biting surfaces of the affected tooth.
- Leave any dressings the dentist has applied for the recommended amount of days.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
- Not touch the area with your tongue or finger, and do not pull down your lip to check the site, as a change in pressure can cause damage.
- Not use straws for drinking.
- Wear a stent or denture for the first 24 hours without removing it if you have been given one.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
After 3-6 months, you should fully recover from your crown lengthening surgery and be ready to face the world with your new smile.
Is Crown Lengthening Worth it?
Crown lengthening treatment is well worth it if you are interested in a more symmetrical crown-to-root ratio or want to address gum overgrowth or recession issues. You can feel confident in your smile once more, and rest assured that the health of your teeth and gum are taken care of once the procedure has finished.
Other benefits of crown lengthening include:
- Reduction of tooth structure decay risks.
- The procedures are minimally invasive and generally have short recovery times.
- Procedures can be typically completed in one visit.
- Being a safe procedure with minimal risks.
- Increasing the likelihood of practising better oral hygiene habits.
- Long-lasting results that typically do not require further treatments.
When you receive treatment from a dentist you can trust, crown lengthening is more than worth it. There are no more concerns about a gummy smile or your new crown not fitting once your gums have been reshaped for optimal appearance and structure.
Alternative Treatment Options
If you are not sure that crown lengthening is the treatment for you, other options are available to prevent the appearance of short teeth and overgrown gums.
- Orthodontic Treatment: If you have one or several teeth that are crooked, or your jaw bone is creating the illusion of shorter teeth, there are several orthodontic treatments available to restore your smile.
- Porcelain Veneers or Dental Crowns: If you are looking to lengthen your teeth and brighten your smile, you can apply porcelain veneers to the front of your teeth for long-lasting results. For those with weaker or more damaged teeth, capping off your tooth with a dental crown can protect your teeth and lengthen them.
- Dental Bonding: While similar to the restorative property of composite veneers, dental bonding is applied only to a part of the tooth to rebuild damaged areas. This means that the areas of your teeth that are lacking in length can be improved with this treatment.
- Root Canal Therapy: For the instances in which your tooth structure is too damaged to have a new crown safely attached, root canal treatment may be the better choice. This procedure ensures that any deep-rooted infection is completely cleared out and the tooth is healthy enough to proceed with any further surgical procedures.
Putney Dental Care: Experts in Dental Care
At Putney Dental Care, we offer only the best crown-lengthening services for our patients, providing you with a smile you can be confident in. Regardless of why you need your crown to be lengthened, we have the best treatment option for you and your teeth and an experienced team to walk you through the entire process.
Meet the Team
Our team of general dentists and specialists are locally trained and highly experienced, making them professionals you can trust with your smile. With the best care possible in the Putney area on offer in a modern, family-friendly, and relaxing environment, Putney Dental Care is committed to providing only the highest standards of dental care.
Contact Us Today!
Whether you are looking to begin your treatment for crown lengthening or are interested in other areas of dental health, Putney Dental Care is ready to provide the best service possible. Our dental clinic covers a significant amount of the Lower North Shore, including areas like:
- West Ryde
- Top Ryde
- Tennyson Point
If you are ready to work on your smile, call (02) 9808 2588 or complete an online form to create an appointment today.
How painful is crown lengthening?
Since anaesthesia is used during the crown lengthening treatment, there is little to no pain experienced. While there may be some discomfort during recovery, this pain should be minimal and resolved within a few days.
How long does crown lengthening surgery take to heal?
The recovery time for a crown lengthening surgical procedure is around 3 months post-operation, but you can resume normal oral functions within a few days or weeks as your gums heal.
Can I drive myself home after crown lengthening?
Depending on the type of anaesthesia used during the crown lengthening surgery, especially if significant work is required, you may be unable to drive yourself home after the treatment. It is best to arrange transportation home ahead of time.
How long after crown lengthening can I eat?
It is advised that you do not attempt to eat or drink until the anaesthesia has completely worn off, and even then, soft foods and liquids should be your only meals for at least 3-5 days post-surgery.
Can I go back to work after crown lengthening?
Although you can return to work after the anaesthesia from the surgical procedure has worn off and you have had a night’s rest, strenuous activities should be avoided for roughly a week. This gives your body time to heal and recover.
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Emergency Appointments Available