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Gummy Smile and Other Reasons for Crown Lengthening in Toronto

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You may not be familiar with the term, but crown lengthening is actually a common dental procedure. It’s sometimes used for cosmetic purposes, as in the case of someone who has what is often referred to as a “gummy smile” – a situation where excessive gum coverage makes teeth appear small. In these cases, crown lengthening in Toronto can reduce the amount of gum tissue, thereby increasing or “lengthening” the amount of visible tooth.

However, there are non-cosmetic reasons that your Toronto periodontists may prescribe crown lengthening. These include situations where a tooth has broken off below the gum line when there is insufficient tooth surface for a dental crown or bridge, or significant decay has occurred.

Here is a little more information on crown lengthening in Toronto and why you might need to have it done.

Types of Crown Lengthening Procedures

There are three types of crown lengthening techniques, and which one is right is determined on a case-by-case basis by your periodontist.

A gingivectomy is one method of removing excess gum tissue. It is performed with either a scalpel, laser, or electrocautery. Recovery from a gingivectomy is relatively fast with only mild discomfort, and the procedure itself requires only local anesthesia.

Apically repositioned flap surgery is another crown lengthening technique. During this procedure, your periodontist will make a small incision in the gums to create a flap, lifting it to remove the necessary amount of tissue before stitching the flap back into place closer to the root of the tooth.

When there is severe damage to a tooth, as in cases where the tooth has broken below the gum line, your periodontist may opt for surgical extrusion. The procedure involves repositioning a tooth along the gumline. Once moved, the tooth will require stabilization until the gums heal, this may involve simple dissolving sutures, or the tooth may be anchored temporarily to the surrounding teeth.

Why You May Need Crown Lengthening

Patients undergo crown lengthening for three main reasons: for cosmetic reasons, as part of the tooth restoration process, or because a tooth has been damaged at or below the gumline.

Excess gum tissue, also known as a “gummy” smile, can make teeth appear abnormally small.  Crown lengthening can remove the surplus tissue and help improve the aesthetics of your smile.

Tooth restoration procedures may be required in cases where gum disease, tooth decay or other trauma cause severe damage to a tooth. Patients suffering from periodontal disease, for example, may need crown lengthening as part of their treatment plan. If a tooth breaks below the gum line, crown lengthening may be necessary before repairing the damaged tooth.

Dental crowns are another restorative procedure that may necessitate crown lengthening. Crowns require a minimum amount of surface space between the jawbone and the crown to avoid damaging gum tissue after the crown is placed. Crown lengthening ensures that a crown can correctly adhere to the tooth.

Recovering from Crown Lengthening

Full recovery from crown lengthening can take up to three months; however, you should be able to resume normal activities after a few days.

After the procedure, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are typically enough to manage pain and inflammation for most patients. If required, your periodontist may prescribe over-the-counter medications.

For the first 24 hours after your crown lengthening procedure, it’s important to avoid hot foods and exercise caution when brushing and chewing around the affected areas. Your periodontist will also advise you to avoid alcohol and smoking and to stick to soft foods while the gums heal.

The name may be unfamiliar, but crown lengthening is a common procedure that can help patients overcome cosmetic and tooth restoration-related issues. When in the hands of an experienced periodontist, you can expect the procedure to run smoothly, with minimal disruption to your daily activities.