Did you know that enamel, the outermost layer of pearly white, is harder than steel? In fact, it is the hardest material in the human body, even harder than bone. However, as hard as it is, it is also brittle as glass.
As a result, teeth can break or chip with enough force, such as a blow to the mouth. If this happens, a crown can help correct the damage.
However, some people may need crown lengthening first before placing the crown.
We’ll explain what you need to know about crown lengthening in this guide, so be sure to keep reading.
What is crown extension?
Crown lengthening is the process of remodeling the gums to expose more of the tooth surface. In some cases, the procedure may also involve minor changes to the bones.
Either way, the goal of crown lengthening is to allow more teeth to appear beyond the gum line. Doing this will allow the crown to be installed correctly and safely. In turn, the right crown leads to optimal oral hygiene, comfort and appearance.
When do you need a crown extension?
A crown may need to be lengthened if there are not enough teeth to hold or support the crown. This can happen with severely broken, chipped, or decayed teeth.
In turn, broken or chipped teeth can also occur due to dental trauma, which affects approximately 4.5% of the population. In this case, a crown can help repair the damaged tooth. However, if the traumatized tooth loses too much structure, it may become too weak to support the crown.
Crown lengthening surgery may be required at that time.
The same goes for untreated tooth decay, which affects one in four U.S. adults. That’s because, over time, diseased teeth can weaken, making them prone to breakage. If they break below the gum line, a crown lengthening procedure is usually required.
Is crown lengthening always a prerequisite for crowns?
Do not. For example, if a tooth is falling out above the gum line, it may not be necessary. As long as there is no damage below the gum line, the remaining exposed teeth may be sufficient to support the crown.
Also, some people may choose to go to a crown extension clinic for cosmetic reasons.
An example is a person with a sticky smile (overexposed gums). It may not be harmful, but the person who owns it may find it unpleasant and unsightly. Therefore, they can have crown lengthening to improve their gummy smile.
What will happen in the process?
Crown lengthening is a minor surgery; therefore, finding the best dentist for your needs is crucial. This means choosing an oral health professional who is trained in anesthesia or sedation. Such drugs can help make the procedure painless, or at least less painful.
Once the anesthesia or sedation has taken effect, the dentist will cut the gums. From there, the gums retract or pull back from the teeth. If there is too much gum tissue, the specialist will also need to remove some of it.
Afterwards, the dentist must clean the treated area with a disinfectant. The sutures then hold the gums together so they can heal properly.
Once your gums have recovered, you can finally proceed with crown placement.
Do not delay or bypass necessary crown lengthening
Note that all-ceramic crowns are the best crowns out there, with a success rate of only 95%. This means a crown failure rate of at least 5%. In turn, some of these failures may be due to insufficient tooth support.
To avoid this, seek the help of a dentist experienced in crowns. This way, if your situation warrants it, you can have a crown extension first.
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