Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. In addition, crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue. This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line to expose an aesthetically pleasing smile.
Reasons for crown lengthening
Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits. The vast majority of patients who have undergone this type of surgery are highly delighted with the results. Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:
- Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and decay. Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.
- Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
- Dental crowns – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.
What does crown lengthening involve?
Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic. 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.
Traditionally, the dentist would make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums away from the teeth. Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone. The bone is then recontoured to the appropriate depth, and the gum tissue is sutured with small stitches.
Unfortunately the vast majority of crown lengthenings are done this way, Dr. Patel, however, uses a hard tissue laser to complete the procedure without having to make an incision or suture the gums! Using a laser quickens the procedure time, decreases the post-operative discomfort, and decreases healing time.
Come visit us to find out more about laser dentistry!