5 Facts To Know About Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is a common dental procedure performed for aesthetic purposes. When performed by an experienced professional, the procedure can go smoothly and increase the health and longevity of your teeth.

Crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over a natural tooth for appealing or structural reasons. A crown may be recommended by healthcare professionals when a tooth is cracked, damaged, or distorted. Bridges, root canals, and dental implants are some of the dental procedures that can all be completed with a crown. Crowns can affix to an existing tooth.

Dental surgeons perform crown lengthening by recontouring gum tissue and, in some cases, bone to expose more of a tooth’s surface for a crown. Crown lengthening is a common dental procedure and takes very less time; usually an hour to complete. 

The purpose of a crown lengthening procedure

Crown lengthening can be important if there is not enough of the tooth in place to hold the crown on its own. Teeth that are broken or affected by tooth decay may forbid a crown from firmly attaching.

Crown lengthening reduces gum tissue and, if necessary, shears down bone to expose more of the tooth above the gum line. An appropriately fitted crown leads to better oral hygiene and wellbeing.

Some people choose crown lengthening to correct a “gummy smile,” which occurs when the gums are visible above the teeth while smiling.

Facts About Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is a procedure that the dentist in Lansing, MI will perform to expose or reveal more of your tooth crown. The crown is the visible part of your tooth that lies above the gum line. The crown lengthening process is painless and simple, and it involves removing some of your gum tissue, thus moving your gums closer to the tooth root. The procedure is performed for aesthetic and functional purposes.

Depending on the cause of excess gingival tissue and the condition of your mouth different crown lengthening techniques can be used. The techniques used can be surgical extrusion, gingivectomy and apically repositioned flap surgery.

The dentist will choose the appropriate technique after considering the following:

  • The proximity and appearance of the root
  • Aesthetic considerations
  • The length of the crown as compared to the root (crown to root ratio)
  • The position of the affected teeth
  • The need for tooth cap or filling 
  • Bone loss

How to prepare for crown lengthening

The dental surgeon may place a temporary crown until you can have the final crown lengthening procedure. The temporary crown protects your tooth temporarily and can make the placement of your new crown much easier.

Before your surgery, you will meet with the periodontist and give a medical history. Thereafter, the periodontist will view your X-rays. During this appointment, you should talk to your surgeon about any medications you take or any allergies you have. They will ensure to let you know if you need to discontinue any of them for the procedure.

What happens during a crown lengthening procedure?

The crown lengthening will be done as an outpatient surgery by your periodontist. This means you can go home afterward. The duration of the treatment varies based on the number of teeth removed and whether soft tissue and bone must also be removed. If any of your nearby teeth have temporary crowns, your periodontist may remove them before the operation and replace them later.

Some people receive local anesthesia and sedative. The periodontist cuts the gums to separate them from the teeth, revealing the roots and bone beneath. In many cases, only the gum tissue is removed. Before suturing, the surgeon washes the surgical area with saltwater. They suture the gums back together and may apply a bandage to the affected area for extra protection.

The patient will feel discomfort or pain after the local anesthesia wears off. Therefore, your surgeon will prescribe you pain relievers and a medicated mouth rinse to help your gums heal.

Risk Factors 

The risk of infection with crown lengthening is similar to that of other surgical procedures. It is necessary to follow all postoperative care instructions to help prevent further infection. You can contact your dental office with queries during your recovery.

After the surgery, some individuals may experience bleeding, and your teeth may be sensitive to hot and cold conditions. The sensitivity will ease with time. Your tooth might look longer than the neighboring teeth, and if the bone was removed, the tooth may feel looser. If you lose your tooth in the future, the crown lengthening procedure might be challenging for the surgeon to put a dental implant.

The recovery process

This procedure requires a three-month recovery period. However, as your gums heal, you will be able to resume normal activities. You should only avoid vigorous activities for the first two to three days such as a physically demanding job, heavy exertion, and heavy lifting, could hinder your healing and cause more bleeding.

Talk to your surgeon about the specifics of your recovery. You should follow the below guidelines:

Take OTC or prescription medication: You will most likely be instructed to take pain relievers such as ibuprofen or Tylenol at regular intervals in your aftercare instructions. Antibiotics, as well as extra-strength painkillers such as acetaminophen-hydrocodone (Vicodin), acetaminophen-propoxyphene (Darvocet), and Tylenol with codeine #3, may be prescribed by the doctor.

Avoid hot foods for the first 24 hours:  If bleeding continues, use a moistened tea bag or moistened gauze to apply slight pressure to the area for 20 to 30 minutes. Also, don’t rinse your mouth. Hot foods and rinsing can make the bleeding last longer.

Brush carefully: You should gently brush your biting surfaces where the dressing has been applied. Brush and floss normally in other areas. Avoid chewing from the side where there is dressing.

Wear your stent or denture: If wearing a clear stent or upper denture was included in your instructions, do not remove it for 24 hours. If blood is pooling in your mouth, rinse with lukewarm salt water or Chlorhexidine rinse while keeping the stent or denture in place. After 24 hours, you may wear it as is.

Use an ice pack: Using an ice pack on your face for the first few hours after the procedure can reduce swelling. You may switch to moist heat a couple of days after surgery.

Eat a soft food diet: Avoid the surgical area when you eat. Also, do not eat anything hard, brittle, acidic, spicy, sticky, or highly seasoned. Avoid nuts and small seeds. Drink plenty of fluids.

Avoid alcohol and smoking: Refrain from drinking until after your post-op appointment. Refrain from smoking for the first 7 to 10 days or longer.

Avoid prodding the area: Avoid using straws and playing with the surgical site with your tongue or finger. Do not pull down your lip to check the site, as the pressure can cause damage.

Leave dressings in for 7 to 14 days: The doctor may replace the dressing once or twice during this period.


Oral surgeries are becoming more efficient and effective these days. Crown lengthening treatment at La Jolla is a common dental procedure performed for aesthetic purposes. When performed by an experienced professional, the procedure can go smoothly and increase the health and longevity of your teeth.

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