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Crown Lengthening

Crown Lengthening Surgery:

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 re-contouring bone and gum tissue.  This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Reasons for crown lengthening:

Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits. Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:

  • Functional Crown lengthening: serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown.  This prevents a new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is placed. Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and decay.  When teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration.
  • Cosmetic Crown Lengthening:  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.

What does Crown Lengthening Involve?

Crown lengthening is 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.

The periodontist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums away from the teeth.  Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping.

In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown.  In other cases, the dentist will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth.

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