Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. In addition, crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue. This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line - to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.
Reasons for crown lengthening
Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits. The vast majority of patients who have undergone this type of surgery are satisfied with the results.
Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:
- Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and decay. Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.
- Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
- Dental crowns – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.
What does crown lengthening involve?
Crown lengthening can be performed under local anesthesia or with a sedation. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed, in addition to the soft tissue.
The surgeon will make gently move the gum tissue away from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth can be treated to provide a more even reshaping. This allows the surgeon access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.
In some cases, the removal of a small amount of soft tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown. In other cases, the surgeon may also need to remove a small amount of bone. When the teeth have sufficient exposure, the area will be cleaned with sterile water and the gum tissue will be resorbable sutures.
If you have any questions about crown lengthening, please contact our office