Crown Lengthening

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Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening can be performed to improve gum tissue health or to get the mouth ready for cosmetic or restorative procedures. Crown lengthening is also sometimes used to correct a so-called gummy smile when excess gum tissue covers teeth. When this procedure is performed, more of the tooth is exposed by contouring or reshaping the gums and underlying bone. The treatment can be done on a single tooth, several teeth or the complete gum line, leading to a beautiful and healthy looking smile.

Why Crown Lengthening Is Done

Crown lengthening is a common and often-used procedure with many uses and benefits. Most patients who have this type of surgery are very satisfied with the results achieved. Among the most common reasons for having this done are:
  • Restoring damaged teeth. Gum disease can cause severe damage to teeth, and so can decay and trauma. In cases where teeth have been damaged below the gum line, crown lengthening is used to prep the area for restoration that will correct the tooth damage.
  • Fixing cosmetic issues. Excess gum tissue can make teeth look short and unnatural in appearance -- and it can make gum disease infections more likely. Getting rid of excess gum tissue creates a healthy and balanced gum line that looks pleasing to the eye.
  • Preparing for dental crowns. Crown lengthening allows for more space between a dental crown and the jawbone, preventing the new restoration from damaging periodontal tissue and underlying bone once placed.

What Is Involved In Crown Lengthening?

Performed under local anesthetic, the crown lengthening procedure can vary in the amount of time it takes to perform it depending on the number of teeth involved and whether any bone must be removed along with soft tissue. Existing dental crowns are removed before the procedure and immediately replaced following the procedure.

dr. woodsThe dentist makes a number of small cuts in the soft tissue to separate the gums away from the teeth. Even when only one tooth requires the contouring procedure, nearby teeth are treated as well to provide the most even results possible. By separating the gums from the teeth, the dentist has clear access to the teeth roots and the bone beneath.

In many cases, removing only a small amount of tissue is sufficient for placing a crown. In other cases, a small amount of bone around a tooth may also have to be removed. This is usually performed using special hand instruments as well as rotary tools. The rotary tools are similar to drills used in the treatment of cavities.

Immediately following surgery, teeth will look noticeably longer since gums have been repositioned.

The dentist secures the surgical area using a periodontal bandage that helps prevent infection. A prescription for pain medicine may be provided along with an antimicrobial rinse that helps prevent bacteria from colonizing. The surgical site can take two to three months to completely heal.

If you believe crown lengthening could benefit you, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS.