Some dental procedures require that some of the gums be removed. This is usually the case when the roots of the teeth need to be worked on. The procedure is called crown lengthening, and there are several reasons why this procedure may be necessary.
Treating Gummy Smiles
Some people naturally have smiles that are “gummy,” that is, you can see a lot more gums than teeth. The gums have overgrown what is considered normal, and the patient desires to have the gums reduced to show more teeth. Some medications can also cause this condition.
Teeth can be damaged in such a way that a crown needs to be replaced with an artificial one. When the dentist needs to cut or work on the tooth at the base, it is sometimes necessary to remove some of the gums in order to access the lower part of the tooth. A crown must be securely anchored on the tooth in order to be properly positioned.
Some of the root of the tooth may also need to be accessed if the tooth has been cracked and the dentist needs to ensure that the crack is treated properly and that it is repairable. Other occasions requiring crown lengthening include installing bridges, root canals, and dental implants.
If a cavity extends below the gum line, this procedure will also be used to ensure that the decayed portion of the tooth has been completely removed. Afterward, the gums are also out of the way to install the filling.
In some cases, it will also be necessary for the dentist to remove bone. The bone in the jaw may get in the way of the procedure and some bone may need to be removed in order to access the lower parts of the tooth. When the initial exam takes place, the dentist will take an x-ray to discover if bone needs to be removed and how much.
At the appointed time, the dentist will usually give you local anesthesia, and this may be accompanied with a sedative. The time it takes will depend on how much gum tissue is involved and how many teeth need tissue removed. This is an outpatient procedure. Once the periodontist removes the excess gum tissue and performs the necessary dental treatment, the gums will be stitched together next to the teeth.
The Healing Time
After the surgery, the gums can be expected to take as much as three months to be completely healed. The teeth may be sensitive. You will need to leave the dressings in your mouth and eat soft foods for at least two weeks. It is also advisable to not drink alcohol or smoke for at least 10 days after the procedure.
Keeping your teeth clean after the procedure is important and is necessary to help prevent infection. You can brush your teeth, but be gentle in the area of the surgery. A special mouthwash will also be supplied, or you can rinse your mouth with salt water.
The dentists at Global Family Dental can help you with crown lengthening. Contact us today about any questions you have or to set up an appointment.