When there is a desire to improve the function and appearance of the front teeth due to a gummy smile, there are two primary options to accomplish this- crown lengthening or orthodontic intrusion.
There are differences between the two procedures that you will want to discuss with your doctor as you plan your treatment.
Crown lengthening is a procedure in which the gum and bone tissue surrounding the teeth is altered to expose additional healthy tooth material, effectively lengthening them.
The primary advantage of crown lengthening is the time it requires to fully complete. Once the procedure is performed, the area can heal and be ready for placement of a restoration within months.
However, a disadvantage of crown lengthening, as with any surgery, is risk of infection. It also requires exposing tooth structure that does not bond to a restoration as well as enamel does. You may also experience sensitivity to hot and cold until your final restorations are complete.
Another option for improving tooth and gum position is orthodontic intrusion. This is the vertical movement of the teeth towards the gumline. This means upward movement for the upper teeth and downward movement for the lower teeth.
Although orthodontic intrusion usually requires a much longer treatment time to complete, it is less invasive than a crown lengthening procedure. When evaluating these treatment options it is important to work closely with your doctor to develop a plan that is best suited for your unique situation.
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