There may be times when you need to rebuild your tooth at the base — when a tooth is broken or chipped below the gum, when there is decay that extends lower than the gum line, or when you have a short tooth. Crown lengthening can help resolve these serious issues and restore your mouth’s health and comfort. Plus, it can also help you look like you have longer, healthier teeth.
Preparing Your Tooth for Restorative Work
When a tooth breaks below the gum line, or there is severe decay at the base, there is a small tooth area to rebuild. Crown lengthening will make more of the tooth available and provide a more stable base for the new dental work.
Crown lengthening is a common surgical procedure that requires a local anesthetic, at the least, and can be coupled with sedation if the patient needs it. In this surgery that takes an hour or less, the gum’s tissue and bone around the affected tooth are cut back and reshaped. The periodontist will work only the tissue and bone around the targeted tooth, and other teeth will not be affected. The goal is to lengthen the crown for dental rework. You need at least 2mm of tooth surface area for dental work to safely adhere without leaving space for trapping food or other objects.
Starting the Restoration
Once the lengthening is successful, most patients need very little post-operative care. You can manage pain with over-the-counter pain medication, return to work right away, and start eating soft foods the next day, and your gum tissue will heal in a couple of weeks. You can begin restoring the broken, decayed, or short tooth 4-6 weeks after the surgery and be on your way to the return of your healthy mouth and smile.