Crown Lengthening

Why would I need crown lengthening?

Crown lengthening is usually performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for a procedure, or correct a “gummy smile”. A “gummy smile” is used to describe an instance where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue resulting in a less esthetically-pleasing smile. The procedure involves reshaping or recontouring the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question to create a new gum-to–tooth relationship. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the entire gum line.

Crown lengthening is often required on a tooth that has a cavity that is below the gum line or the tooth has fractured, such that the fracture line is at or below the gum line resulting in very little tooth structure. In order to restore the tooth with a new crown, crown lengthening is required to expose the cavity and or the fracture line fully, so that the crown margin can be placed on the healthy tooth structure. 

                           Crown Lengthening to Expose the cavity. Actual case by Dr. Bal   

Crown lengthening allows us to restore the tooth, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease.

About the Crown Lengthening Procedure

Crown lengthening takes approximately one hour but will largely depend on the amount of teeth involved and if any amount of bone will need to be removed. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic and involves a series of small incisions around the tissue to separate the gums from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the procedure, it will probably be necessary to adjust the surrounding teeth to enable a more even reshaping. In some cases, removal of a small amount of bone will be necessary as well.

When Dr. Bal is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure is completed, the incisions will be cleaned with sterile water. Sutures and a protective bandage are then placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. Your teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the surgical dressing and evaluate your healing. The sutures usually do not need to be removed as they are absorbable.  The surgical site should be completely healed in approximately four weeks following the procedure.  After complete healing of the surgical site, you will be referred back to your general dentist for new crown.