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Crown Lengthening Procedure

Crown Lengthening Procedure

Is Crown Lengthening Necessary?

Your smile says a lot about you. It can determine whether you can interact freely with your friends and colleagues. However, some issues can affect how your smile looks such as having excessive gingival tissue. This is known as a gummy smile, a condition that a dentist can fix.

Not unless you know much about dentistry, there is a chance that you may have never heard of a procedure known as crown lengthening. Before we see why you may need to undergo the crown lengthening process, let’s see what crown lengthening is about.

What is the Dental Crown Lengthening Procedure?

The crown refers to the top part of the tooth, the visible part. A crown lengthening procedure does not cause the tooth to become longer. Instead, the gum tissue at the tooth’s base is reshaped or removed to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done on just one tooth or on an entire line of teeth to produce a natural, broad smile. It can also be performed to even out the gum line.

crown lengthening before and after
crown lengthening before and after; image via deardoctor.com

A crown lengthening procedure may also be needed to prepare a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure. If a tooth is decayed, broken, or requires additional tooth structure to support a dental crown or bridge, your dentist may need to perform a crown lengthening to expose more of the tooth to work with.

Tooth Crown Lengthening

The procedure can usually be completed in one visit, but how long it takes will depend on how many teeth are being treated. A local anesthetic will be applied to keep you comfortable; a sedative can also be administered for patients who are feeling anxious.

Your dentist or periodontist will cut into the gums and pull them away from the teeth. Depending on the goal of the surgery, either gum and bone tissue will be removed or just gum tissue. The area will be cleaned before sutures are placed to seal it.

You may receive pain killers to help with discomfort following the procedure and a specialized mouth rinse to help the area heal properly.

Crown Lengthening vs Gingivectomy

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure to expose or reveal more of your tooth crown. The crown is the visible part of your tooth that sits above the gum line.

The crown lengthening process is painless and straightforward, and it involves removing some of your gum tissue, thus moving your gums closer to the tooth root. The procedure is performed for functional and aesthetic purposes.

You can use different crown lengthening techniques depending on the cause of the excess gingival tissue and the condition of your mouth. The techniques include gingivectomy, surgical extrusion, and apically repositioned flap surgery.

Our dentist will choose the appropriate technique after considering the following:

  • The proximity of the root
  • Aesthetic considerations
  • The appearance of the root
  • The length of the crown as compared to the root (crown to root ratio)
  • The position of the affected teeth
  • The need for a tooth cap or filling
  • The presence of bone loss

Why Would You Need Crown Lengthening?

When our dentist recommends crown lengthening, it can be for the following reasons:

  • Gummy Smile

A gummy smile refers to the scenario where a lot of gum tissue covers a more significant portion of the tooth. In turn, this makes your teeth seem small. A gummy smile can be caused by a condition known as passive eruption, where much of your tooth is covered by your gums when they come in. Also, your front teeth may over-erupt, causing your gums to grow too far.

Therefore, our dentist will use a laser or scalpel to remove the excess gum tissue when you undergo the crown lengthening procedure. You will not be in pain since local anesthesia will be used.

Once complete, your teeth will look more extended and more aesthetically pleasing.

  • Damaged Teeth

If there’s an accident or you have tooth decay, and your teeth have been damaged below the gum line, it might be difficult for our dentist to work on the area that has been damaged. Therefore, crown lengthening becomes the best possible solution. Once our dentist has exposed the part of the tooth covered by your gums, can repair.

  • No Room for Dental Crowns

There are instances when you might not have enough natural teeth above the gum line that can accommodate an artificial dental crown. If a dental crown is fixed when you don’t have enough room to accommodate it, you can experience discomfort and chronic inflammation.

Even though there are other options, crown lengthening can be performed to expose more of the tooth structure. When this is done, a crown can be fixed, and it will fit completely and comfortably.

  • To Improve Your Dental Aesthetics

In most cases, if you have teeth that are mostly covered with gums is not aesthetically pleasing. So, to get a more proportionate smile, you will need crown lengthening. Exposed gums should not be more than 3 millimeters. If more than that is visible, the aesthetics will be affected.

Therefore, crown lengthening will be performed if you use porcelain veneers to improve your smile’s aesthetics. There isn’t enough room to accommodate them due to excess gingival tissue. It will create room for the veneers so that they can fit perfectly.

  • To Prevent Oral Health Issues

Excessive gum tissue can pose a threat to your oral health. When you have a gumline, you may have difficulty cleaning your teeth, and bacteria can accumulate, leading to periodontitis and tooth decay. Crown lengthening can ensure that the extra tissue is removed, making cleaning your teeth easier.