Periodontal plastic surgery refers to cosmetic procedures performed on the gums. These procedures alter and enhance your gums for a healthier, more attractive smile.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening
Esthetic crown lengthening gives patients who are displeased or embarrassed by having a “gummy” smile an opportunity to reshape their gum line. The procedure is essentially a “gum lift” and takes approximately one hour under local anesthesia. Excess bone and gum are removed, revealing more of the natural tooth, previously hidden below the gum line. This procedure can be done to a single tooth, but is generally performed on the entire mouth for the most natural effect. In addition to enhancing the appearance of your smile, crown lengthening can improve your oral health by decreasing the depth of bacteria-hosting periodontal pockets.
The crown lengthening procedure takes place in your dentist’s office. Your dentist will administer local anesthesia to prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Then your dentist will make small incisions to separate the gum from the tooth. Some cases will also require the removal of a small amount of bone. Once the tissue and bone have been removed, your dentist will use sterile water to clean the incisions and suture the remaining gums. A protective bandage will be placed over the treated area to promote healing and reattachment to the tooth root. You should return for a follow-up appointment within 1-2 weeks to check on the healing and evaluate the success of the esthetic crown lengthening procedure.
Functional Crown Lengthening
Sometimes, crown lengthening is necessary for other cosmetic or restorative dental procedures. If a tooth is too decayed or has broken below the gum line, it can prevent the proper attachment of dental prosthetics like bridges and crowns. By lowering the gum and bone line, more of the natural tooth is exposed allowing enough room for the prosthetics.
When functional lengthening is required, it is not enough to simply trim back the gumline. It also needs to be reshaped to allow the necessary space for effective restoration.
Similar to the procedure for esthetic crown lengthening, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic and make small incisions to remove and reshape your gumline. Sutures will be placed to promote healing; these will need to be removed at a follow up appointment 1-2 weeks later. Before the prosthetic can be placed, your new gumline will need to completely heal, which will take 6-8 weeks.