When Is Crown Lengthening Necessary?

Team Oral Surgery

Crown lengthening, also called crown extension, is a common surgical procedure primarily done to prepare the tooth for various kinds of dental restoration treatments. Your periodontist may recommend crown lengthening if there isn't enough exposed tooth surface to place a crown or bridge. The procedure is also performed for other functional, therapeutic, or aesthetic reasons as explained below.

What Is Crown Lengthening?

The white part of your tooth seen above the gum is called the crown. This periodontal procedure helps increase the length of your teeth that appear above your gum line. The dental surgeon usually needs to remove gum tissue or shave down the bone beneath the gum to expose more of your tooth's healthy surface.

Why Do I Need Crown Lengthening?

You may need a crown lengthening if your teeth are covered by excessive gum tissue (gummy smile), your tooth broke off at the gum line, or there's decay beneath your gum. The procedure is also necessary if the exposed area of your tooth isn't strong enough to hold a crown or another type of restorative treatment.

Types of Crown Lengthening Surgeries

A functional, therapeutic, or cosmetic surgery may be recommended depending on your needs.

Functional crown lengthening

You may need crown lengthening for a tooth that is cracked, broken, or misshapen. It's sometimes required for completing dental procedures such as fillings, root canals, dentures, dental bridges, or dental implants. A dental crown can successfully be placed over the treated tooth to help improve functions such as biting, chewing, and speaking.

Therapeutic crown lengthening

Gum disease (periodontitis) infects the soft tissue around your teeth and causes the periodontal pockets to deepen. Therapeutic crown lengthening is done to decrease pocket depth by removing excessively loose gum from around the affected teeth. Periodontal pocket reduction surgery allows you to properly clean the area beneath your gum line and prevents recurrent periodontitis.

Cosmetic crown lengthening

"Short teeth'' or a "gummy smile" results when teeth do not properly erupt, leaving too much gum tissue along the length of the teeth. If you're feeling self-conscious about your looks, you can opt for crown lengthening to make your teeth appear longer. Your periodontist will adjust or recontour your gum tissue to reveal more of the white part of your teeth. The result is a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing smile that might even boost your self-confidence.

Crown Lengthening Procedure by a Periodontist

Surgery is performed using a combination of local anesthesia and a sedative to reduce pain or discomfort. Your periodontist will use a surgical tool to make an incision in your gum and pull it away from the teeth. Next, the treated area is cleaned and disinfected and the gum sutured.

The periodontal treatment can be completed in one office visit but will depend on the number of teeth involved. Some patients feel mild pain after the local anesthesia wears off. Your surgeon may prescribe pain relievers along with a mouth rinse. Following the post-operative directions given helps to promote faster gum healing and prevent infection.

We're the Periodontal Expert You Can Trust

Dr. Quinta has the expertise to perform various types of crown lengthening based on your needs. Feel confident knowing we provide personalized restoration treatments that can improve functionality and dramatically enhance your smile. Contact us today to find out more or to request an appointment today.