Crown lengthening is usually performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare a tooth for a restoration (filling or crown), or correct a “gummy smile”, that is, a condition where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. This relationship can impede proper oral hygiene, as well as result 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. Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the entire dentition.
Crown lengthening is often required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. In this case, the margin of the crown or restoration is deep below the gum tissue, possibly into the area where the gum inserts into the tooth root and not immediately accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.
The crown lengthening technique allows us to help the restorative dentist easily place the edge of the restoration in a proper relationship to the gum and bone, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth and appropriate oral hygiene access. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. Again, this procedure will allow you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease.
Crown lengthening is performed after numbing the area and involves gently separating and reflecting the gum around the neck of the tooth to gain access to the restorative margin. Dr. Culberson will measure the distance needed for proper restoration and in some cases, removal of a small amount of bone supporting the tooth will be necessary as well.
When Dr. Culberson is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure is completed, the gum will be carefully replaced and secured around the tooth, usually with a few dissolving sutures. A protective bandage may then be placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. You will need to be seen in two weeks to evaluate the healing response. The healing of the surgical site is usually allowed to proceed undisturbed for a period of time before Dr. Culberson allows your family dentist to proceed with the crown or filling.