Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to expose adequate tooth structure for proper restoration. This is most often needed as a consequence of deep decay or a fracture of the tooth that extends too far below the gum line to be restored by any other means. 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 or many teeth.
Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:
Restoration of damaged teeth – 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 with a local anesthetic. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in how many teeth are involved and the extent of damage the tooth had sustained. Existing dental crowns may be removed prior to the procedure, and replaced immediately afterwards.
The Doctors will make a small incision around the necks of the teeth in order to separate the gums away from the teeth. The goal is to reposition the gum tissue to expose the strong healthy tooth which is below the gum line. In some cases, repositioning of the gum of tissue alone will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown. In other cases, removal of a small amount of bone from around the teeth will be necessary. The Doctors will discuss the extent of treatment they feel are necessary in your particular case. When needed, the bone is usually removed using a combination of special hand instruments, and rotary instruments. The rotary instruments roughly resemble the drill that is used in cavity treatment.
When adequate tooth structure has been exposed, the gum tissue is sutured and a special periodontal dressing to protect the gums may be placed. The sutures and dressing will be removed in one week. The procedure is usually tolerated very well and antibiotics and pain medications are usually not necessary. While the gum tissue heals in one to three weeks, the tooth will usually be restored in approximately six weeks.
If you have any questions about crown lengthening, please feel free to call the office.
Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants, LLC
Dr. Neal B. Suway & Associates
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
261 Old York Road Suite 319
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 887-6060
Convenient to Philadelphia, Abington, Willow Grove, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Horsham, Warminster, and Hatboro