4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
Morgan, Rick D.D.S.
508 Georgian Dr
Mobile, AL, 36609-3432
Russell Lowrey D.D.S. DMD P.C
2319 Whitesburg Dr S
Huntsville, AL, 35801
Kaple, Trevor M D.D.S.
1932 Laurel Rd # 2c
Vestavia, AL, 35216-1945
Jebeles, Chris A D.D.S.
4647 Highway 280 # E
Birmingham, AL, 35242-5032
There are two reasons why individuals need a dental crown lengthening procedure: to properly restore a tooth or to make a "gummy smile" more attractive and cosmetic dentistry can help with both.
To properly restore a tooth, several millimeters of healthy tooth structure must be available above the crest of supporting bone. However, this often is not the case when teeth are fractured, severely decayed, or worn. If enough tooth structure is not available, and the restorations are placed too close to the bone, the body reacts by creating a chronic inflammatory reaction that can create red, swollen, and sensitive gums. The gums can bleed easily and even become painful. Eventually, the inflammatory reaction may lead to bone loss around the tooth. To prevent these problems and to properly restore the tooth, the patient should have a dental crown lengthening procedure before restorative treatment.
The gummy smile may be the result of gum tissue growing over teeth that are of proper size. Often times teeth that appear small are, in fact, normal-sized teeth that are hiding under excess gum tissue. Dental crown lengthening removes the excess gum tissue and establishes a more appealing gum line.
Dental crown lengthening is a surgical procedure in which gum and bone tissue is removed from the circumference of the tooth. It is done in the dentist's office with local anesthesia (lidocaine). One or several teeth can be treated at the same time. After carefully reshaping the gum and the bone to expose healthy tooth structure, stitches (sutures) are placed to aid in healing. The stitches are usually removed five to ten days after the surgery. Follow-up appointments are scheduled as necessary to evaluate healing and plaque control. The gums should be allowed to heal for six to eight weeks before making any new restorations. At that time, the gums are more stable and better esthetic results can be achieved.
Post-surgical discomfort can last a few days and is usually minimal. It can be easily managed with commonly available over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. Patients can expect to follow their normal routine the day after surgery.
Crown lengthening is recommended to properly restore a broken down tooth or to improve the esthetics of a gummy smile. If a general or cosmetic dentist does not frequently do surgeries, he or she may refer the individual to a periodontist who specializes in dental crown lengthening.
By Laura Minsk, DMD
Hollywood's most fortunate faces often rely on the skills of their cosmetic dentist in ways that may surprise you.
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep have perfectly nice teeth on their own. But, to meet the challenges of demanding roles in films, both used cosmetic dental appliances (dentures) to change the looks of their natural teeth.
Since women have smaller, rounder teeth, Hoffman, (who played a woman in "Tootsie") used a partial denture to make his teeth look more feminine.
To suggest the brutality of life in a concentration camp, Meryl Streep's teeth and mouth were altered for her role as Sophie Zawistowska, the poignant heroine of "Sophie's Choice."
More commonly, actors see their cosmetic dentists long before they get in front of the camera. In an image-conscious industry, it's no secret the camera is a harsh critic. And a mouth with missing teeth, or a mouthful of stained or broken teeth never helped an actor's image - or the image of a banker, doctor or secretary for that matter.
Few of us face a camera at work every day. But we all face an audience and it's the same audience that goes to the movies. The movies tell us successful people look good, failures don't. Ugly teeth can tell the tale.
Techniques such as dental veneers and tooth bonding have joined the traditional process of dental caps as ways to improve smiles. Orthodontic braces aren't just for children anymore, they're also available to adults who want straight teeth. In some cases, you can opt for teeth bleaching, or have your teeth lengthened or sculpted. If you think you would benefit from these treatments, ask your cosmetic dentist. Not all the new techniques will work for everyone, but he or she will be glad to discuss the best plan for your smile.
With today's new cosmetic dental techniques, you can cast yourself successfully in a competitive world with an award-winning smile.