Sometimes after your dentist removes the tooth decay, there isn't enough tooth structure left above the gum line to support a dental crown or even a large tooth filling. Without enough structure to grab on to, ill-fitting dental crowns may cause chronic inflammation and irritation. Even worse, tooth decay may get in under the dental crown, creating the need for more dental treatment. You might even lose the tooth completely.
Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure performed by a dentist to expose a greater amount of tooth structure for the purpose of subsequently restoring the tooth prosthetically. This is done by incising the gingival tissue around a tooth and, after temporarily displacing the soft tissue, predictably removing a given height of alveolar bone from the circumference of the tooth or teeth being operated on. While some general dentists perform this procedure, others frequently refer such cases to periodontists.
Dental crown lengthening is performed by a periodontist an it is a simple procedure usually done at dentist's office using local anesthesia. If necessary, sedation dentistry can be used to ease dental fear during the procedure. If you have a temporary crown in place, the periodontist will remove it before beginning surgery and replace it after. The periodontist starts by making cuts to the tissue to pull the gum away from the tooth. This provides access to the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone. In some cases, removing just a little gum tissue will do the trick. More often, the removal of some bone is also required. Once the periodontist has exposed enough of the tooth's structure, he or she will wash the area with saline water and stitch the gums together. Some periodontists will cover the incision with a special bandage. About a week after crown lengthening surgery periodontist will remove the stitches. Your gums will need to heal awhile longer before your tooth can be fitted with the final dental crown.
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