A common procedure Dr. Sazima performs for his patients is crown lengthening. Crown lengthening is an oral surgery that removes excess gum tissue and bone around the upper teeth in order to make them look longer. In addition, crown lengthening can sculpt the gum line in order to make for a more symmetrical smile. Often this surgery is done for cosmetic effect, but it can also be done because of tooth decay or fractures under the gum line.
Performed under local anesthesia, Dr. Sazima makes small cuts to allow him to pull the gums away from the teeth and remove excess gum tissue. In some cases, only a little tissue needs to be removed in order to expose more of the crown. In others, when there is too much soft tissue and bone covering the crown, some of the bone needs to be removed as well. When finished, the gums are washed with sterile salt water and stitched up. The entire surgery typically takes from thirty minutes to an hour.
Crown lengthening has some advantages over other cosmetic dental treatments, including the fact that it only needs to be performed once (no further touch-ups or additional treatments are required). In addition to creating a more symmetrical smile, it can help reduce the risk of tooth decay, since more of the the tooth is accessible for brushing and flossing.