If you have straight teeth but are still uncomfortable with your smile, it may be because you show a lot of gum when you grin. During a crown lengthening procedure, also known as a gum lift, your dentist removes excess gum tissue to allow each tooth in your smile to look longer and more attractive.
Crown lengthening is also used when your dentist needs to get access to and treat decay or a tooth fracture under the gum line, or needs to expose more tooth to place a restorative treatment like a dental crown or bridge.
Whether it’s done for cosmetic or medical reasons, crown lengthening typically costs between $1,000 and $2,000 per tooth. If you have multiple teeth done at the same time, the cost per tooth may be lower. Costs also vary based on how much work needs to be done and whether you need sedation for the procedure.
What Factors Determine the Cost of Crown Lengthening?
The costs associated with crown lengthening depend largely on the type of procedure your dentist is performing. There are two types of crown lengthening procedures.
1. Cosmetic or Esthetic
If you’re having crown lengthening done to improve your smile, the process can take more time since each tooth will need to be done one by one and compared to the others. During a cosmetic procedure, the gum tissue needs to be carefully sculpted and must match on all teeth.
If your dentist is performing a crown lengthening in order to gain access to the more of the tooth’s crown (area under the gum), it may not take as much time to complete. If the procedure is being done on a back molar or other tooth that’s not part of your visible smile and doesn’t need to be matched to other teeth, it can be finished more quickly.
3. Tissue Removal
If only soft gum tissue needs to be removed, and not much of it must be taken off to achieve the results you need, it can take less time to finish. In some cosmetic cases, your dentist must also remove some bone so that bumps don’t show above your teeth, and that takes longer.
4. Number and Position of Teeth
You’ll pay more for crown lengthening on your front teeth, because they are so visible and the gum tissue must be carefully matched.
5. Type of Anesthesia
In most cases, crown lengthening can be done with a local anesthetic, which can cost up to $300. But if you’re highly sensitive, are having several teeth done or simply would prefer to be more highly sedated, you could pay between $500 and $1,500 for sedation during your procedure.
What Should You Expect During and After the Crown Lengthening Procedure?
Before your dentist performs any type of procedure, you’ll usually undergo an exam and X-rays. This helps determine if you’re a suitable candidate for crown lengthening and ensure that the dentist knows the structure of your mouth.
During the Crown Lengthening Procedure
The first step in the crown lengthening process is to administer a local anesthetic or sedation, as needed. This ensures you won’t feel any pain from the procedure.
Next, the periodontist will make some small cuts in the gum tissue that allow access to the underlying structure of your teeth. He or she will carefully trim the excess gum tissue and, if needed for esthetic reasons, smooth out the underlying bone so there are no unsightly lumps or bumps above your teeth.
The gum tissue is washed with a sterile solution, stitched back into place and allowed to heal. Your dentist will place intraoral bandages that can help prevent infection and promote healing.
The cosmetic crown lengthening procedure typically takes about an hour, but it depends on the number of teeth being treated and whether bone was removed.
After the Crown Lengthening Procedure
You may take up to four days to heal from a crown lengthening, depending on the extent of the work done. Complete healing can take weeks or even months, so if you’re planning to get a restorative treatment or cosmetic work like veneers, you may need to wait up to six months.
During the initial healing period, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions to prevent your sutures from rupturing or healing to be otherwise delayed. This may include:
- Taking pain medication and any other prescriptions
- Consistently using an ice pack to reduce swelling
- Eating on the other side of your mouth or consuming mostly soft foods
- Avoiding alcohol or tobacco products that can work against healing
- Brushing and flossing only as directly by your dental professional
Failing to take the proper steps in healing could lead to infection, so it’s very important to take steps that will allow your mouth to heal quickly and properly.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Crown Lengthening?
Most dental insurance plans will only cover crown lengthening if it is needed for a functional reason, such as to access an area where there is decay, to treat gum disease or to uncover more of the tooth in order to fit a restoration like a crown or a bridge. Cosmetic procedures are almost never covered by dental insurance.
How Can I Find the Best Dentist to do Crown Lengthening in Houston?
Nearly all dental specialists can perform a functional crown lengthening procedure. If you’re having crown lengthening done for cosmetic reasons, it’s important to select a periodontist who has completed many procedures and is careful to properly shape the gum tissue. You might ask to look at some before and after photos of work that the dentist has done to get an idea of how your smile will look. It’s also important to find a dentist who will answer all your questions and make you feel comfortable with the procedure.
Omega Dental Specialists’ experienced dentists are some of the best and most knowledgeable professionals in the Houston area. Our office staff can also work with you on a payment plan to make your crown lengthening procedure more affordable. Call us at 713-322-7474 to schedule your first appointment and discuss whether crown lengthening is right for you.