Ideally, you will only show minimal gum tissue when you talk and smile, and it should frame your teeth evenly, complementing their appearance. If you have a gummy smile, an excess of gum tissue is visible when you smile or talk, detracting from your appearance. A gummy smile can make it appear as if your teeth are too small, but it’s quite likely they are covered with excess gum tissue
Crown lengthening removes this excess tissue, exposing the natural shape of your teeth and ensuring your gums frame them nicely, creating a more attractive smile. Some people will only need crown lengthening for one or two teeth, while others may need to have several teeth treated. We might also suggest this treatment in preparation for dental crowns or veneers. A tooth that has broken near the gum line may be too small to crown properly, but crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth, allowing us to place a crown successfully.
If your smile is looking a little gummy, our dentist will need to assess it to determine if crown lengthening is the right option. There are other reasons why a smile can appear too gummy. Sometimes people show too much gum tissue if they have overactive muscles in their upper lip, pulling the lip up too far when they smile or talk. Alternatively, a gummy smile may be due to the way the jawbone has developed, and we will need to assess if the bone underneath requires reshaping.
If you do need a crown lengthening procedure, we plan surgery very carefully, only removing a minimal amount of gum tissue to create a more pleasing smile. We do this procedure under local anesthesia, but you can choose to have additional sedation if desired. Often, this procedure is completed using electrosurgery, which is precise and more comfortable. Once we remove the tissue, we might bandage the area treated, and it will need several weeks to heal. You may experience a little swelling as the gums settle down and some discomfort during the initial healing period. If this procedure is carried out in preparation for crowns or veneers, we may place temporary restorations at this stage. These will be replaced with your permanent crowns or veneers once healing is complete. When you have healed, we can reassess your smile and if necessary, can touch up any small areas requiring additional treatment.