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Is Crown Lengthening Right For Me? FAQs Answered For Orange County Dental Patients
At the Dental Oasis of Orange County, Brian Toorani, DDS, a graduate of the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, knows how important it is to have a good, healthy smile. When someone has what is called a “gummy smile,” they often struggle with confidence and self-esteem issues as a result. Luckily, Dr. Toorani and his team can help!
Crown lengthening is a very common procedure that removes gum tissue, bone, or both to expose more of a tooth. The part of the tooth that we see is called the “crown.” When a tooth needs to be repaired, your dentist may need to perform a crown lengthening procedure to access enough of the tooth in order to repair it. If you have a lot of gum tissue around your upper teeth or if you need a crown or filling installed, your dentist may perform a crown lengthening to improve the overall look and functionality of the affected teeth.
Who is a good candidate for crown lengthening?
If you say that someone has a “gummy smile,” that term is really relative. In fact, Dr. Steve Ratcliff at Spear Education says that patients, general practitioners, and orthodontists will all have differing opinions to how much gum is too much! For instance, non-professionals may say that 3mm, orthodontists said 2mm and general dentists said about 4mm. Clearly the term “gummy smile” is all relative.
However, Spear Education does say that despite a shaky definition, there are some indicators to look out for. For instance, if you have a severe overbite or you have a very pronounced cupid’s bow that causes a have a short upper lip, you may be prone to a gummy smile. But the important thing is that if you are self-conscious and believe that you have too much gum, then you are probably a good candidate for the procedure.
While crown lengthening is often a cosmetic procedure, it can also be used to make it easier to place a filling or crown. In order to place a prosthesis (like a cap), the dentist may need to remove tissues so there is more available enamel to work with.
What are the basic steps of this procedure?
Crown lengthening is a simple procedure that is done using a local anesthetic. Your dental surgeon will make cuts that pull the gums away from the teeth in order to expose the roots of the teeth. In some cases, your dentist will also have to remove some excess gum and bone as well. The surgery then comes to an end with the rinsing of the area and the stitching together of your gums.
Sometimes if a person has a periodontal disease, they go in for a two-for-one deal by getting their gums cleaned with SRP and then having them repositioned with crown lengthening to rid a gummy smile.
You will be given a prescription pain medication and a special mouthwash. After your gums have healed, you will go back to your dentist to have the crown or filling placed if your crown lengthening was a non-cosmetic surgery.
Are there risks or important after-care instructions?
After a surgery that heavily affects your gums, it is very important to be aware of the risk of gum disease. Be sure to carefully clean your teeth and gums to ensure a healthy and long-lasting set of teeth.
Immediately after the surgery, you should not attempt to eat anything since you could easily bite your cheek, tongue, or lips. You should not use a straw for your drinks since that can dislodge clots and cause bleeding. Also, your dentist will probably okay you for OTC medications like ibuprofen, but you should always check before taking one.
What are the benefits of crown lengthening?
As previously mentioned, you’ll be able to boost your confidence because you won’t be so conscious about people looking at your gums. Also, the treatment is low-risk and not very uncomfortable, so you will be able to make a quick recovery. And if you don’t like the idea of going to the dentist for multiple treatments, you’ll be glad to know that crown lengthening can often be done in-office in one visit. If you need to get crowns to fix gaps and restore your oral function, but it’s not quite possible since you have too much gum covering your teeth, then crown lengthening is often a good first step towards your goals.
Are there any alternatives to this procedure?
If you don’t want to get crown lengthening, but you want to reduce your gummy smile for cosmetic reasons, you may want to try lip repositioning surgery, which changes the muscles in your lips so they don’t raise as high when you smile. And keep in mind that if you are just using crown lengthening to change your smile for appearances, it is going to be more expensive than if it was for functional purposes. Cosmetic crown lengthening can be as much as $4,000!
Sometimes crown lengthening will not give quite enough height for crown placement. Sometimes tissues and bones are too damaged to be good enough to support a crown. However, there are alternatives if you want to avoid these risks or if you aren’t a good candidate in the first place. Orthognathic surgery and periodontal surgery can help patients with functional concerns.
A great alternative is orthodontic forced eruption. This is a great option for people who aren’t keen on invasive surgeries. During this treatment, your teeth are bracketed (just like braces) and forced upwards by a few millimeters so they erupt from the gums more. While this procedure can’t be completed in one visit, the timeline isn’t terribly long either (usually only two months).
If you have good underlying bone structures, but your gums may just make it too difficult to work with a prosthesis, you may want to consider a tooth extraction and eventual post placement instead.
Contact The Dental Oasis in Huntington Beach today
I am thrilled that I found a wonderful dentist in Dr. Toorani and his team.
The office is aptly named. It really does look like a spa and is full of the latest gadgets in dentistry. It is located in the Bella Terra shopping center upstairs next to Bed, Bath & Beyond and right next to a Cost Plus. The location is easy to get in and out of and there is a parking garage if you are trying to avoid the often crowded parking lot.
Dr. Toorani is working on closing my open bite and alleviating some of my jaw pain so that I can avoid jaw surgery.
He is honest, fair and friendly. I would highly recommend Dental Oasis of Orange County to anyone in the market for a new dentist.Liz H.
“The Dental Oasis is focused on raising the bar of excellence with patient experience. Essentially by providing great customer service and exceeding expectations. Ultimately, it’s all about our patients and it is what we love to do. My passion is dentistry. My love is for my patients. This is why I come to the office every day. Our modern, tranquil, peaceful, and spa-like environment will make you forget that you are at the dentist’s office. We utilize all the latest technology in dentistry and offer many amenities that will make your visit a unique and relaxing one. Whether you need a teeth cleaning, crown, or dental implants, we are here to serve you. At The Dental Oasis you are family.” – Dr. Brian Toorani