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 possibly the bone around the tooth 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 is often required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration is below the gum tissue and not immediately accessible. 

Crown lengthening allows us to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide 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.

Crown lengthening may take up to one hour but will largely depend on the number of teeth involved and if any 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. In some cases, removal of a small amount of bone will be necessary.

When Drs. Hinckfuss, McGregor, Mitchell or Chin are satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure is completed sutures and in some cases 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 may need to be seen several weeks later if nonresorbable sutures are placed or the periodontist wishes to evaluate the healing. Depending upon the amount of tissue removal the surgical site will remodel and this could take up to two to three months in some cases.