Crown Lengthening


Why Is Crown Lengthening Done?

Crown lengthening is typically performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for a restorative procedure (such as a crown or veneer), or to correct a "gummy" smile, a term used to describe an instance where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue, making teeth look shorter than they really are.

It can also be needed when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue and not immediately accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone, or even below the bone. Crown lengthening is then performed to correct that and allow your restoration to be completed.

Crown lengthening allows Dr. Cristoforo to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It also provides enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease.

What to Expect During Crown Lengthening

The procedure involves reshaping or recontouring the gum tissue and bone around teeth in question to create a new gum-to-tooth relationship. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the entire gum line.

Crown lengthening takes approximately one hour, but will largely depend on the amount of teeth involved and if any amount of bone will have to be removed. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic. It involves a series of small incisions around the tissue to separate gum tissue from the teeth. 

Regardless of if only one tooth needs the procedure, it can still sometimes be necessary to adjust the surrounding teeth to enable a  more even reshaping. In some cases, recontouring a small amount of bone might even be required.

Once Dr. Cristoforo is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and that the procedure is finished, the gum tissue is molded into its proper place. Sutures are placed and a protective bandage may be used to help secure the new relationship between gum tissue and the teeth it surrounds.

After the procedure, your teeth will be noticeable longer as the gums have been repositioned. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks after the crown lengthening to evaluate your healing. The surgical site should be fully healed in two to three months.