Q:

Is crown lengthening painful?

A:

Quick Answer

The local anesthetics used during crown lengthening make this procedure virtually pain-free and sensation-free. Once these anesthetics wear off, the pain experienced is usually tolerable enough with the use of over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

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Full Answer

Crown lengthening involves removing excess gum tissue or bone to expose more of the subgingival structure of a tooth that supports a filling or a crown. Crown lengthening may also be performed to give a dentist access to tooth decay underneath the gums. Crown lengthening can be cosmetic, performed to remove excess gum tissue surrounding the teeth to make them look larger and fuller. Before a crown-lengthening operation, a periodontist typically requests a panoramic X-ray of the patient’s jaw. The actual surgery may be preceded by a professional tooth cleaning.

The process is usually done in stages, giving plenty of time for postoperative healing. Crown operations may take three months to complete, with stages involving an initial crown removal, a subsequent fitting of a temporary crown and a final fitting of a permanent crown. Dentists recommend placing ice on the surgical area to subdue swelling immediately after the operation. Stitches may be used, and they are removed seven to 10 days after an operation.

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