Tooth Lengthening

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2003

My dentist has recommended that I undergo a ''tooth lengthening'' procedure to create more surface area on a tooth that is covered by a cap. The first cap fell off after 5 years, presumably because there wasn't enough tooth left for it to grip. As I understand it, the proceedure involves, lowering the gumline to reveal more of the tooth. I'm curious to hear from others who have undergone this procedure for how effective it was, and whether it is unpleasant to undergo. I'm also curious if anyone can comment on Dr. Rech of Berkeley and El Cerrito as he is the specialist who I've been referred to. Thanks, Donna

I had my gumline lowered about 4 years ago for a similar reason, I got a cavity at the edge of a crown and in order to fill it they had to ''lengthen'' the tooth. Warning: Graphic explaination of the surgery follows: They cut the gumline and expose the bone then they file the bone down and stitch the gums back up. It is the same surgery, as I understand it, that they do if you have severe gum disease. It was very unpleasant to undergo. Mostly because the filing of the bone takes a while and is very loud (even music through headphones cannot cover it). I do not remember it being very painful, however. I remember being prescribed ibuprofen and the Dr. had me start taking it 2 days before to make sure it was in my system and really effective from the get go. They put a plaster ''cast'' on the area so you can eat while you recover. I have not had any more problems with that tooth. Good Luck! Jennifer

I was also referred to Dr. Rech a few years ago for tooth lengthening. I have a molar that broke, leaving only a piece of tooth remaining, much longer on one side than the other. I was told that in order to put a crown on the tooth I would need what I believe was called crown lenghtening. My dentist put some sort of filling material on it temporarily, something he referred to as ''third world dentistry'' and I've been living with it like this for a couple of years. When I initially saw Dr. Rech he seemed pleasant enough, but the procedure sounded a bit unpleasant to me (as do many dental procedures), and I decided to put it off. At my most recent checkup my dentist mentioned that we really needed to put a crown on this particular tooth and when I mentioned the crown lengthening procedure he said it was no longer necessary. It seems that the gum had receded on its own sufficiently. I don't know if this happens frequently, but I was certainly glad that I hadn't undergone unnecessary surgery. Judy

I just recently had two molars lengthened. Since it's only been a few months I can't say how effective it was, but I can tell you that the actual procedure wasn't too bad. I didn't feel a thing and the only creepy part was when I heard the dentist scraping on my tooth/jaw. Recovery took some time -- I had some soreness in my gums and had to be careful eating. But overall it more just annoying than painful. I used Dr. Saltzman in Larkspur (Marin). He was excellent. Good luck! Rotten Teeth