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Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is often performed to prepare the tooth for restorative or cosmetic procedures.  In addition, crown lengthening procedures can be used to correct a “gummy” smile, when the teeth appear very short. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and/or gum tissue.  This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line.

Crown lengthening is often necessary before crown placement when there is not the proper distance between the restoration and the bone. This will prevent future tissue damage once the crown is cemented.

What does crown lengthening involve?

Crown lengthening is performed under local anesthesia.  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, in addition to the soft tissue.  Any temporary crowns that are present will be removed prior to the procedure and replaced immediately afterward.

In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown.  In other cases, it may be necessary to remove a small amount of bone from around the tooth.

When sufficient exposure of the tooth is completed, the wound will be cleaned with sterile water and the gum tissue will be sutured back with small stitches.  The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned.

We will cover the surgical site using an intraoral (periodontal) dressing which serves to help keep the area clean during healing. A chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) mouth rinse may be given to help  keep the area clean. Sutures are removed in 7-10 days and the tooth is healed enough to proceed with crown fabrication in approximately two to three months.

If you have any questions about crown lengthening, please ask us.