Crown Lengthening

Why would I need crown lengthening?

Crown lengthening is usually performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for a procedure, or correct a “gummy smile.” A gummy smile is used to describe an instance where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue resulting in a less esthetically-pleasing smile. The procedure involves reshaping or recontouring the gum tissue and bone around the tooth in question to create a new gum-to–tooth relationship to show more of the tooth crown that was previously covered by gum tissue. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the entire gum line.

Crown lengthening is also often required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration which is deep under the gum line. Cleaning and properly maintaining a very deep restoration is often not possible unless the gum line is lowered around that portion of the tooth via crown lengthening. Once this has been completed, the edge of that restoration that was previously very deep below the gum tissue, is now nicely accessible and able to be properly maintained with good brushing and flossing techniques.

About the Crown Lengthening Procedure

Crown lengthening takes approximately one hour, but will largely depend on the number of teeth involved and if any amount of bone will need to be removed. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic and involves a series of small incisions around the tissue to separate the gums from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the procedure, it will probably be necessary to adjust the surrounding teeth to enable a more even reshaping.

When Dr. Harley Williams is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure is completed, the incisions will be cleaned with sterile water. Sutures and a protective bandage are then placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. Your teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate your initial healing. The surgical site should be completely healed in approximately two to three months following the procedure.