When Will You Need Crown Lengthening?

Close-up of woman smiling after crown lengthening

Before you receive a dental crown or another type of restoration, you might be told that crown lengthening has to be performed first. It’s a relatively simple surgery, but you may be confused about why it’s even necessary in the first place. Rest assured, though, that it is only recommended when it’s absolutely necessary to create a healthy, beautiful smile. Read on to learn more about crown lengthening and the conditions that might require it.

What is Crown Lengthening?

A crown lengthening procedure involves reshaping the gums around specific teeth, exposing additional tooth surface. In other words, it exposes more of the underlying tooth. Sometimes this treatment might also involve the bone level to alter the height of the visible tooth.

The goal of this procedure is typically to ensure that there’s enough exposed tooth structure for a restoration to be placed.

What Conditions Might Require Crown Lengthening?

You might need crown lengthening if:

  • Your tooth is unusually short or appears short, which often indicates that there’s an excessive amount of gum tissue covering it.
  • You are suffering from severe tooth decay below the gum line that must be treated before it’s safe to place a dental restoration.
  • Your tooth has fractured or broken off beneath the gumline, and the remaining visible portion isn’t enough to support a crown.

In short, any condition that limits the amount of healthy tooth surface that is available for a restoration could be cause for a crown lengthening procedure.

The Crown Lengthening Process

The procedure is performed with local anesthetic that numbs your gums; you can also be sedated if you’re nervous. A small amount of tissue will be gently removed, with the end goal being to reveal a sufficient amount of tooth structure.

Most of the time, extensive post-operative care is not required after crown lengthening. The discomfort will be very slight and can generally be easily controlled with over-the-counter medication. You will need to eat soft foods for a few weeks after surgery. The final restoration will usually be placed about six to twelve weeks after the procedure is performed.

Crown lengthening is a very versatile procedure and can go a long way towards helping all kinds of patients restore their smiles. If you have a damaged or unusually short tooth that might need a crown soon, be sure to ask about crown lengthening.

About the Author

Dr. Alexander R. Schrott is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and has been board-certified by both the American and German Boards of Periodontology. He is an expert in a variety of gum-related procedures, including crown lengthening. If you think you might need crown lengthening in the near future, schedule a consultation with Dr. Schrott at his Belmont practice via his website or by calling (617) 484 9240.