Periodontal Plastic Surgery refers to cosmetic procedures performed on the gums to enhance the appearance and health of the smile. Also referred to as gum reduction surgery, crown lengthening may be a recommendation when too much gum tissue is present. This periodontal plastic surgery procedure can be rendered in two forms and is most often performed by a dental professional.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening
Those who feel that they have a "gummy" smile can greatly benefit from esthetic crown lengthening. This relatively simple procedure usually takes about an hour to perform and is essentially a "gum lift." During the procedure, the doctor removes excess gum and bone tissue and reshapes the smile to expose more of the natural tooth. While this gum reduction surgery can be performed on just one tooth, it is often done on the entire smile. The end result is that more of the natural tooth surface is exposed creating a wider, more beautiful smile.
Esthetic crown lengthening can also be done to preserve the health of the smile. Removing excess gum tissue with gum reduction surgery can help control and prevent periodontal disease. Increasing the exposed surface area of the tooth will decrease the depth of periodontal pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria can grow and harm your oral health.
Prior to the procedure, a local anesthetic will be administered by your doctor to prevent pain and discomfort. Small incisions in the gum tissue will be needed to separate the gums from the teeth. In some cases, a small amount of bone will also need to be removed to create a natural smile. Once the procedure is completed, the doctor will clean the incisions with sterile water and place sutures and a protective bandage over the area. This will encourage the teeth and newly contoured gums to reattach to each other. A follow up appointment will be needed one to two weeks after the procedure to evaluate healing.
Functional Crown Lengthening
Sometimes functional crown lengthening will be needed in order to perform a cosmetic or restorative procedure. This may be the case if a tooth is too far decayed, broken below the gum line, or has insufficient structure for a restoration like a crown or bridge. In gum reduction surgery cases like this, your doctor may be required to lower the gum and bone levels to expose more of the root surface so that it can be restored. However, simply trimming back the gum line is usually not sufficient. Instead, we will need to reshape the gums and supporting bone to allow for adequate room to place a high quality restoration.
The procedure is similar to esthetic crown lengthening in that a local anesthetic will be administered. Small incisions are required to remove the gum tissue and reshape the area. When the gum reduction surgery has been completed, your doctor will place sutures that will need to be removed in one to two weeks. After the area has completely healed, usually in about six to eight weeks, the final restoration can be placed.
If you have excess gum tissue that is affecting your smile or ability to have a tooth restored, you may be in need of gum reduction surgery. Call your doctor today for a consultation to determine if this procedure is right for you.