Why do patients need crown lengthening? When a tooth with deep decay or a deep crack that travels to below the gum line near the bone, and that tooth has lost its natural "biologic width," or a 2-3mm protective cushioning above the gums that is necessary in natural or restored teeth for periodontal health. When the "biologic width" is reduced or lost, preventing the restoration of a filling or crown, then the tooth will need a crown lengthening procedure before the fillings or crown work.
Crown lengthening is a minor gum surgical procedure by recontouring the gum and bone tissue to restore the "biologic width," thus exposing more tooth surface for dental restoration and crown to be possible. Dr. Hanah Pham will need to give you local anesthetics for your comfort, and some patients request sedation dentistry as well depending on their anxiety/fear levels. It is a fairly easy and minor gum surgical procedure that takes about an hour to complete. A flap is generated, the gum tissue and bone is then contoured, and resorbable suture will be placed.
At the post-operative follow-up appointment, usually in 10-14 days, Dr. Hanah Pham almost always sees great success and a speedy recovery from patients with a crown lengthening procedure.
For aftercare, like in any surgical procedure, use the following instructions:
- Ice Pack - Using an ice pack over the face on the affected side can reduce swelling (apply multiple times on the day of the surgery for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off).
- Saltwater Rinse - Rinse with warm saltwater 2-4 times a day for 2 weeks is recommended for faster healing.
- Soft Food Diet - Eat soft like foods and avoid the surgical area when you chew. Avoid hard seeds and nuts that can get lodged into the surgical site. Drink plenty of water.
- Over the Counter Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen (Commonly known as Advil/Tylenol) - These are common medications for crown lengthening since the discomfort afterwards is generally mild and usually improves in a couple of weeks.
Dr. Hanah Pham has always been committed to saving teeth. However, she feels good when she can guide the patient to make decisions, weighing the risks and benefits, and taking into the cost and long-term success. If she feels that long-term success is minimal and is not worth to save the tooth by going through multiple complex dental procedures, then she will have no problem posing other, better options for the patients. If she doesn't feel like she would choose that option for herself or her family members, then she would not recommend it for her patients. She will always put the patients' well-being and benefits first. Please don't hesitate to call (703) 860-4148 or fill out the form below if you have questions about crown lengthening or other options to save your teeth.