4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
Apex Endodontics Pc
1932 Laurel Rd # 2c
Vestavia, AL, 35216-1945
4518 Valleydale Rd # 103
Birmingham, AL, 35242-4632
Ballard, James F D.D.S.
1771 Independence Ct # 4
Vestavia, AL, 35216-1232
4700 Misty Ridge Cir
Birmingham, AL, 35235-8665
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
Maybe the reason we find an eight-year-old's gapped teeth smile so adorable is...we know it's not permanent. Soon the grown-up teeth will be poking through, clean and new. All part of the mouth's natural evolution.
It's not often that nature gives us a second chance, but when it comes to teeth it does just that. For many children it can be a wake-up call to start taking dental hygiene seriously. As the old saying goes, "God gives you two sets of teeth, but you have to buy the third."
It may be time though to change that outdated piece of wisdom to: "Teeth are like friends...ignore them and their needs and they'll go away. Be kind to them and they'll stick with you forever."
That's why regular hygiene appointments and a gum disease examination are so important. Barring injury, there's simply no reason why most of us should be missing teeth as we grow older. Call it a "10,000 smile checkup," insuring all your parts are in good working order.
Once your cosmetic dentist knows that your teeth are healthy and the gums are sound, he or she can do a little restorative dentistry to evolve your smile to an even higher level. Things like dental bonding to close the gaps…or invisible dental crowns or veneers for front teeth…even teeth bleaching for a truly dazzling and beautiful smile.
Give your cosmetic dentistry professional a call. He or she can help you see to it that your mouth does the job it was intended to for a lifetime. And look drop-dead sensational at the same time!