Crown Lengthening for Tooth Restoration
Crown lengthening (or crown exposure) is required when your tooth needs a new crown
or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue
and not accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.
With crown lengthening, more of the tooth’s surface will be exposed and this will
help act as an anchor for future restorative work such as crowns, veneers, or more.
Your gums need at least 2mm of tooth surface between the restoration (filling/crown)
and the bone in order to prevent trapping food and other potential problems. If
part of a tooth is missing or if the decay is too deep, there might not be enough
tooth structure to work with. In situations like this, crown lengthening is used
to recreate the required amount of exposed tooth so that crown or filling will not
be weakened or fall off.
If a crown lengthening is not done and a crown is placed too far under the gum,
it may be too close to the bone and result in chronic bleeding that can be quite
painful. If this condition is left, bone destruction surrounding the tooth can occur,
causing further periodontal problems.
How Does Crown Lengthening Work?
Crown lengthening is a relatively common procedure and it can be done with a local
anesthetic. The patient is numbed and a small incision will be made around the tooth.
The gum tissue is reflected back to allow for reshaping of the bone to a more suitable
level, allowing for exposure of further tooth/teeth structure. Excess gum tissue
is removed to accommodate the new desire gum and tissue position. The areas are
close with a dissolvable suture and a soft type of putty may, or may not be applied
to the area/s of treatment. This putty has no medication in it, so if it becomes
loose and is removed earlier then 4 days, this should not be a problem. The procedure
can take less than one hour and usually only requires a one and four week follow-up
to verify the healing progress of the area.
For most patients, crown lengthening won’t require any additional post-operative
care and any slight pain can be easily managed with Ibuprofen. While crown lengthening
patients can return to work and begin eating soft foods the day of surgery, full
recovery of the gum tissue generally takes one or two weeks.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening (Crown Lengthening For A Better Smile)
Most have probably seen people with what you would consider short teeth, or a “gummy”
smile. While it may appear that their teeth are shorter than normal, it’s often
just a case of the teeth being hidden behind the gums. By repositioning the gum
line, you can improve your smile and the contours of your face.
One of the major advantages of crown lengthening is that it can often be completed
in one visit with a simple anesthetic. Essentially, the excessive gum tissue that
is hiding your teeth is removed to expose the normal length of the tooth.
With crown lengthening, you’ll benefit from:
- enhanced teeth that no longer look short or like "baby teeth"
- a much more attractive smile
- reduction of a “gummy” like smile
- an improved self-image and more self-confidence
- a relatively quick healing period with little discomfort
- visible results in as little as one week from surgery
Aside from the esthetic benefits of crown lengthening, correcting a “gummy” smile
can also improve your overall periodontal health. When gum tissue does not recede
normally as adult teeth appear, pockets can form in the gums around the teeth, which
can result in advanced periodontal disease. By contouring the gums through crown
lengthening, you can not only improve the look and confidence of your smile, but
also prevent future problems.