Anyone went through the "crown lengthening procedure"?
December 21, 2013 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Anyone went through the "crown lengthening procedure"?

Hi everyone,

My root canal tooth cracked after biting on a bone during a meal. It's a fractured cusp. The tooth cracked slightly below the gum line and the periodontist will perform a "crown lengthening procedure". Based on my understanding, the periodontist will cut the gum in order for him to put a crown over the tooth. I am wondering if anyone went through "crown lengthening" and can share some thoughts.

-Did you experience this before? How was it? Did it hurt for a while?
-In the future, if the tooth cracks again I will most likely get a "bridge" but will the gum be able to support it?
-Do I need to rest at home & take a couple sick days off from work?

Thanks in advance.
posted by Mountain28 to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had one recently, about 6 months ago, so I can't answer any long term questions but:
1. It didn't hurt because I got a lot of novocaine shots - my dentist is wonderful and very caring. I don't remember much, it was a bit more involved than a filling, but not anywhere near as stressful as a root canal.
2. No idea, sorry.
3. I took the rest of the day off work because I'm a dental nervous nelly, but I could have gone in if necessary. Just keep taking OTC painkillers every 4-6 hours and it's totally fine.
I had to go back to get the stitches removed I think, then a third visit to get the crown. It was tender for a long time, but now is totally normal and fine. I would not overly stress about it, just be assertive about novocaine.
posted by Joh at 9:02 PM on December 21, 2013

Yes, I had this done, several years ago. The gum surgery and the crown work were 2 different procedures. Everyone had great pain management techniques, so while there was definitely some soreness with healing, it was never what I would call painful. Stay on top of your pain meds and icing and so on.

I subsequently had to have the whole tooth replaced with an implant, and there were no problems with that as a result of the crown lengthening procedure.

I definitely took the rest of the day off for both the gum and crown procedures but am pretty sure I went to work the next day -- I honestly can't remember.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:44 PM on December 21, 2013

I had it done years ago when I cracked a tooth very badly. The crown lengthening was much easier than I anticipated, with little pain afterwards. I don't remember it being much worse than a root canal or filling. The restoration part came afterwards. The whole process took a long time (several appts) but I haven't had any problems with it.
posted by FlyByDay at 9:46 PM on December 21, 2013

I had this procedure done a couple months after I gave birth to my son, so grain of salt I guess, but this barely registered as a thing. I don't remember it hurting and I think I went right back to work straight from the dentist's office. There was some aftercare that was kind of annoying but that's all I remember.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:29 PM on December 21, 2013

I had this done (crown lengthening) in February of this year, for the same reason (fractured a previously root-canaled tooth). I won't was pretty unpleasant, though the numbing injections did at least keep the pain at bay during the procedure. It took about an hour from start to finish, which is supposedly pretty typical, but no part of it was fun and I was so glad to finally get out of the chair.

Afterward I went home and tried to work remotely but mainly ended up getting frustrated at having to type with one hand (since the other one was holding a much-needed ice pack against my jaw). If you are offered strong painkillers and tolerate them well you might want to have those on standby; I can't do narcotics (I have a bizarre agitation/rage reaction to them) so I took only ibuprofen, which helped, but there was still enough pain for it to be distracting.

I really hope your experience is better than mine, and YMMV, but if I were you I'd at LEAST schedule the rest of the day post-procedure off work so you can see how you're feeling.

That said, given the damage that can ensue from jaw erosion, etc., if a tooth is fully removed, I don't regret going through the procedure for a minute. My new crown is wonderful and much nicer-feeling than the janky tooth nub beneath.
posted by aecorwin at 11:31 PM on December 21, 2013

I had a crown on a tooth that fell off after about ten years. The dentist told me that the tooth (the furthest back molar) had just too little exposed for her to put another crown on without the lengthening procedure.

So, we did it. The dentist who handled it was very good, and honestly, I felt nothing during the procedure, and was mostly fine, if a little tired, afterwards. I didn't need any sick days.

My main discontent is this -- it's a year later, and the damn crown has fallen off again. Plus the filling that was under has also taken a leave of absence. I know this next pass is going to end up being an implant, and honestly wish they had just recommended one in the first place, since now I'm out the money for both procedures, they are freaking expensive, and I despise the entire long extended process it takes to accomplish all of this.

So, ask about how likely the success rate is for this given the damage to the tooth. Are you just going to have to do it all again in 12 months?
posted by instead of three wishes at 11:56 PM on December 21, 2013

I had this done a couple of months ago. The procedure itself was not painful (Novocain) and took about 45 minutes. There was very little bleeding. My jaw hurt quite a bit that evening, so I took the prescribed Ibuprofen with codeine prescribed. After that Ibuprofen alone was enough, but I needed it for about 10 days. The doc also prescribed an antibiotic, which I highly recommend taking. I didn't and the area got quite infected in about a week, swollen and painful. I took the antibiotic and it went away quickly, but upon thinking about it, it was very stupid not to start with the antibiotic right away before the infection occurred, as the mouth is a pretty dirty place full of bacteria, and a wound like that is pretty susceptible. I still haven't had the permanent crown put on and I will warn you that having exposed tooth root isn't pleasant when exposed to cold. No pain otherwise. I would suggest you as your doc about getting prescription strength tooth paste with lots of fluoride, which will ease the sensitivity around the root area.
posted by waving at 6:29 AM on December 22, 2013

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