Normally performed under local anesthetic, crown lengthening is dependent upon a few factors. The number of teeth involved in the surgery, amount of soft tissue in need of removal, as well as bone, all impact the overall procedure time, in addition to existing dental crowns that require removal and immediate replacement.
A series of small minimally invasive incisions will be made around soft tissue, in order to pull the gums away from the teeth. Neighboring teeth are often treated even when a single tooth requires recontouring, in order to provide even reshaping. The separating of the gums serves to provide easier access to the roots and underlying bones of the tooth. Sometimes the periodontist needs to remove small amounts of bone from around the tooth, while other cases only require the removal of a small amount of tissue to place a crown, etc. A combination of rotary instruments and hand instruments work together to remove bone as needed.
Once the reshaping and recontouring is complete, and the dentist is satisfied, the wounds are cleaned using sterile water – gum tissue is sutured with small stitches. Because the gums have been repositioned, the teeth will take on a different appearance immediately after surgery. Using an intraoral bandage in order to prevent infection, the dentist will secure the surgical site and prescribe pain medication. An antimicrobial mouthwash chlorhexidine may also be supplied in order to reduce the re-colonization of bacteria. In most cases, the surgical site heals completely within two to three months.