Crown lengthening surgery is a procedure where the gums of the teeth are more ideally repositioned. This may be necessary for a few different reasons, such as to remove deep caries, to improve the condition of the teeth for restorative work and to create better aesthetics.
Before your surgical appointment, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth clinically and take ex-rays. Any necessary treatments such as fillings, root canals or cleanings will be completed before the crown lengthening surgery.
At the surgical appointment, the dentist will first anaesthetize the surgical site. After a brief re-examination of the site, the dentist will carefully create flaps and clean any excess soft tissue around the tooth to be lengthened, allowing for a clear view of the underlying bone. This underlying bone will be reshaped according to the treatment plan. Once the bone is reshaped, the gums will be replaced in an ideal position and sutured into place.
The surgical site may be covered with a special dressing, which will provide protection during the healing process. Your dentist may prescribe you some pain medication and provide you with your post-operative instructions. These may include rinsing with salt water two to three times a day for the first 3-4 days, eating soft foods and brushing and flossing all the teeth - other than the surgical site - as thoroughly as possible.
If the dressing is still in place after one to two weeks, it will be removed and the surgical site evaluated by the dentist. You will then be scheduled for your next appointment for the necessary restorative work 6 to 8 weeks later.
If the surgery was undertaken for aesthetic reasons, the appointment for the permanent restoration is scheduled 3 to 6 months later, as minor gum changes may occur over a longer period of time.
At the restorative appointment, the tooth will be prepared for a crown and impressions will be taken. If you have a temporary crown in place, it will be removed. The dentist will examine the surgical site, checking the health of the gum tissue. If you do not already have a temporary crown, one is fabricated for you at this time. The tooth is then prepared for the crown and impressions are taken. After this, the temporary crown is cemented in place, and you will be scheduled for your next appointment.
At this final appointment, the fit of the final crown and your bite will be checked. If all is well, the crown is cemented in place with permanent cement.