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Periodontics
Gingivectomy (Gummy Smile)

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Office location:
Grand Rapids
2323 East Paris Ave. SE
Suite 102
Grand Rapids, MI
49546
Phone: (616) 855-4070

A gingivectomy or esthetic crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health and esthetics of the gum tissue and teeth.  Esthetic crown lengthening procedures are used to correct a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue.  A gingivectomy exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or re-contouring bone and/or gum tissue.  This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Reasons for esthetic crown lengthening

Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits.  The vast majority of patients who have undergone this type of surgery are highly delighted with the results.

Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:

  • Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections.  Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the esthetic appearance of the smile.

  • Dental crowns and veneers – Crown lengthening serves to provide more natural crown contours when co-treatment planned with your general dentist to have cosmetic crowns or veneers placed.  Patients sometimes have expensive cosmetic restorations placed on their anterior teeth only to find they are unhappy with subtle contours that make big differences in the general appearance of their smile.  We work closely with your general dentist to plan both optimal tooth shape and gum contours ensuring happy patients and beautiful smiles.

What does esthetic crown lengthening involve?

Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic.  The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed, in addition to the soft tissue.  Also, braces can add to treatment time, but do not affect outcome success.

Dr. Lueder typically makes a series of small conservative incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums from the teeth.  Even if only one tooth requires re-contouring, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping.  Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.

In some cases, the removal of a small amount of gum tissue will provide enough tooth exposure while in other cases, the Dr. Lueder will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth.  The bone is usually removed using a combination of special hand instruments, and rotary instruments.

When the satisfactory re-contouring is complete the gum tissue will be sutured with several small stitches.  The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately and patients can see preliminary results even prior to final healing.

Dr. Lueder may secure the treatment area with an intraoral (periodontal) bandage, which serves to protect the area from movement.  Prescriptions will be provided for pain medication, and a chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) mouth rinse may be given to help reduce clean the area and decrease infection.

If you have any questions about esthetic crown lengthening, please give us a call.