When you smile, it’s natural for a minimal amount of gum tissue to show just below your upper lip line. But excess gum tissue can create what’s commonly known as a “gummy smile.” Aesthetic crown lengthening is a surgical procedure that addresses this issue by reducing and contouring gum tissue to create a fuller, brighter, and more natural smile.
One of the primary reasons patients choose to undergo an aesthetic crown lengthening procedure is to improve their smile. Excess gum tissue and/or bone can hide otherwise healthy teeth. This can cause teeth to appear “short” or gum tissue to appear inflamed. This may leave many patients feeling insecure about their smile, particularly when speaking, engaging with others, or smiling for photos.
Aesthetic crown lengthening is often a personal decision that leads to improved confidence and a fuller, healthier smile. It may also be used in combination with other cosmetic procedures, such as veneer or crown placement, to achieve the smile you want. In this case, crown lengthening creates ideal gum shape and contour to ensure your tooth veneers or crowns fit properly and appear natural.
Crown lengthening is not strictly a cosmetic procedure. Functional crown lengthening is used to ensure proper repair and restoration of broken or decayed teeth. It can also help patients by allowing for a more ideal crown and gum contact, which in turn will improve the patient’s ability to properly brush, floss, and chew with comfort.
If you’re interested in aesthetic crown lengthening, schedule a consultation with your periodontist. The periodontist will work with your restorative dentist to develop a treatment plan, including the number of teeth requiring treatment and if your procedure will be limited to gum tissue contouring or if excess bone tissue also requires contouring. It’s possible to perform crown lengthening procedures on a single tooth, but cosmetic gum reduction procedures typically extend to the surrounding teeth to achieve an even and natural tooth appearance.
On the day of your procedure, your periodontist will administer a local anesthetic to make the procedure comfortable. Then they will clean the area and make small incisions to remove and contour tissue to create the desired natural smile. Once the surgery is complete, your doctor will again clean the treatment area, insert sutures and/or apply a protective bandage as necessary to aid the healing process.
Crown lengthening procedures in general are often completed in a single visit, although some patients may requires a second “revision” procedure to achieve an ideal outcome.
A follow-up visit within one to two weeks after treatment is required. At that time, the treatment area will be checked to ensure it is healing as expected.
Immediately following your surgery, you’ll likely experience some minor pain and discomfort that can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. And, since the crown lengthening exposes a portion of your tooth that was once covered by gum tissue, you may experience sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. This will dissipate as your tooth acclimates to a new level of exposure.
After your gum tissue heals, you’ll be left with a broader smile that can improve your confidence for years to come. The benefits of crown lengthening aren’t limited to cosmetic enhancements. By removing excess gum tissue, you’ll be able to better care for your teeth. Brushing, flossing, and general oral health care will become more effective, which can prevent tooth decay, gingivitis, and other periodontal disease related issues.
There are multiple reasons an individual may have a gummy smile. In some cases, a patient simply has too much soft or hard tissue covering their teeth which results in the appearance of short teeth and a gummy smile. In other cases, patients have a hyperactive lip, or a lip that rises above the gum line, exposing an excessive amount of gum tissue.
Both may result in a gummy smile, but your ideal treatment plan may vary. For patients with excess tissue that physically covers the teeth, aesthetic crown lengthening is often the ideal solution. The procedure will not be as effective for patients with a hyperactive lip, as the problem stems from lip movement and placement, not necessarily gum tissue.
Lip repositioning surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that restricts the movement of the upper lip by removing a small band of tissue and reconnecting the tissue to a lower portion above the teeth. After treatment, patients will be able to fully smile without their upper lip rising above their gum line.
If you have a gummy smile, aesthetic crown lengthening may be an option worth considering. However, there is more to treatment than simply contouring tissue. Periodontists are dental professionals who are expertly trained to understand the complexities of oral health, especially the relationship between your teeth, gums, jaw, and connecting tissue. As such, they can help you determine if crown lengthening is the best course of treatment to address your concerns or if there are alternative treatment plans that are better suited for your needs. They can also help you ensure that your procedure is done safely and provides long-lasting results.
If you’re concerned about your smile, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a periodontist as soon as possible. Dr. Bonacci and his team can help you get the smile you dreamed about in a way that promotes a healthy mouth and gums.
Contact us today to set up your consultation.