Crown lengthening is generally performed 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, exposing an 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 highly delighted 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 can also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
Dental crowns – Crown lengthening provides 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 is normally performed under local anesthetic. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend on how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed along with the soft tissue.
Your periodontist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums away from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping. Separating the gums provides your periodontist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.
In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown. In other cases, your periodontist will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth. The bone is usually removed using a combination of special hand instruments, and rotary instruments.
Prescriptions may be provided for pain medication, and a chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) mouth rinse may be given to help reduce any bacteria attempting to re-colonize. The surgical site will be completely healed within a few weeks.
If you have any questions about crown lengthening, please contact our office.