Enhance Your Smile with a Crown Lengthening Procedure

An excess amount of gum tissue can not only make patients feel self-conscious but can also interfere with their ability to receive treatments such as dental crowns or porcelain veneers. As a skilled and knowledgeable periodontist in Victoria, TX, Dr. Rick H. Heard can perform crown lengthening to gently remove excess tissue for a more proportionate smile. This procedure can also correct a crooked or uneven gum line. The team at Gulf Coast Periodontics works diligently to provide patients with expert-level periodontal care.

Before and after crown lengthening illustrations
Crown lengthening procedures can reduce excess gum tissue and create a more balanced smile. 

What is Crown Lengthening?

A crown lengthening procedure addresses overgrown gums by carefully removing small portions of tissue from gum line. Crown lengthening can serve both aesthetic and functional needs. Not only can excess gum tissue compromise your appearance, it can also trap plaque and bacteria, resulting in swelling and discomfort. Dr. Heard offers two types of crown lengthening:

  • Cosmetic: If excess gum tissue makes your teeth appear small and “boxy,” cosmetic crown lengthening can be performed to uncover the hidden portions of your teeth. Dr. Heard will artfully and skillfully shape the gum line to achieve a natural-looking appearance. Sometimes referred to as gum contouring or a smile lift, aesthetic crown lengthening can also be performed to bring symmetry to an uneven smile.
  • Functional: When a damaged tooth is covered by gum tissue, functional crown lengthening is performed to access the area that needs to be treated. For instance, if there is a cavity below the gum line, a crown lengthening procedure can uncover the problematic area so a filling can be placed. Sometimes, excess tissue gets in the way of an existing crown, causing it to become unstable. Functional crown lengthening gently removes gum tissue, uncovering more tooth structure so the crown can be successfully bonded into place.

Am I a Candidate for Crown Lengthening?

The only way to know for sure if you are a candidate for crown lengthening is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heard. During your initial examination, he can create a personalized treatment plan to address your individual needs. Crown lengthening is often performed to address:

  • A “gummy smile”
  • Smile asymmetry due to an uneven gum line
  • Insufficient space for the placement of dental crowns or veneers

Your Crown Lengthening Procedure

If Dr. Heard determines that you could benefit from crown lengthening, we can begin planning your procedure. The treatment is minimally-invasive, and can often be completed in approximately one hour. If you opt to receive IV sedation, one of our board-certified anesthesiologists, Dr. Derrick Garrett or Dr. Steve Janececk, will administer the medication while you relax in our treatment room. Local anesthesia will also be administered to numb the gums and make sure you are comfortable during your procedure. Dr. Heard will then carefully remove excess tissue and sculpt the gum line. The result is an optimal tooth-to-gum ratio for a natural-looking appearance.

Recovering from Crown Lengthening

As with any oral surgery procedure, there is the possibility of discomfort following treatment. Although increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages is normal, most patients experience very little pain. We recommend taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, every four to six hours for the first three to five days to prevent swelling and minimize any discomfort. For maximum benefit, acetaminophen should be taken every four to six hours for the first few days. Any prescription medications should be taken precisely as recommended by Dr. Heard.

To further reduce swelling, a cold compress may be applied externally every 20 minutes for the first 24 to 48 hours. Beginning on the third day, warm, moist heat may be applied.

A periodontal dressing may be applied to the surgical site. This will harden over the first couple of hours, and will serve as a protective barrier. The dressing may come loose or fall out. If this occurs, call our office to receive further instruction.

Slight bleeding is normal. To minimize this, do not exercise or perform any heavy lifting for 48 hours. Bleeding can be addressed by applying light, steady pressure over the area with a dampened gauze pad.

A crown lengthening procedure addresses overgrown gums by carefully removing small portions of tissue from gum line. Crown lengthening can serve both aesthetic and functional needs.

You will want to avoid hard foods for a few days. If the procedure was performed on your front teeth, do not bite into anything. Instead, cut your food into small pieces and place in the back of your mouth to chew. It is best to stock up on soft and nutritious foods prior to your surgery.

Avoid brushing directly on the surgical site. The chewing surfaces of the teeth may be cleaned lightly with a soft toothbrush. You may continue normal hygiene in all other areas. Swish very gently with an antibacterial rinse twice a day for 30 seconds.

Closely following your post-operative instructions can significantly decrease discomfort during the healing phase. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office so we can help.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about crown lengthening, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heard. Call our office at (361) 573-1014 or contact us online to speak to a member of our staff with any questions you may have. 

Dr. Rick Heard

Dr. Rick Heard

Dr. Heard is board-certified in periodontology and dental implant surgery with over 15 years of experience in the field. He is also a member of multiple prestigious organizations, including:

  • The American Academy of Periodontology
  • The American Dental Association
  • The McGuire Institute

Find out if you are a candidate for dental implants by requesting an appointment online or calling (361) 573-1014 today.

Message Our Staff

After multiple years of avoiding a dental issue, I visited Dr. Heard. In a short period of time, I went from what I thought was a hopeless dental problem, to a complete solution. I now have a full understanding of my procedure, the timeline, and even exact costs.

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