Crown Lengthening

If a tooth is badly worn, decayed or fractured below the gum line, it may be necessary to remove a small amount of bone and gum tissue before your dentist will be able to make a new crown for your tooth. As a rule, simply trimming back the gum is not sufficient.

Reshaping the gum and supporting bone will allow your general dentist adequate room to place a quality final restoration. This procedure provides the necessary space between the supporting bone and crown, preventing the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone.                    

Most crown lengthening procedures are very straightforward, and there is little or no post-operative discomfort. Sutures and dressing are removed after one week.

If a crown is to be placed in a cosmetic area, the restorative dentist should wait 6-8 weeks following crown lengthening before taking final impressions. This ensures that the gum, which shrinks slightly as it re-attaches to the tooth during healing, is in its final position. If the margin of the crown is placed at the gum level before final healing, and additional shrinkage occurs, the results may be unsightly. A temporary crown can be placed two weeks after surgery if the patient desires to cover the exposed root during this healing period.

Cosmetic Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is used to correct what's commonly referred to as a "gummy smile."  A gummy smile is apparent when the gum line appears to be creeping down over the teeth, making them appear short.

To correct a gummy smile, it is necessary to remove excess gum tissue, therefore allowing more of the natural tooth surface to appear. Even with new crowns, the results can never be satisfactory unless the gum has a natural contour.