The treatment option called crown lengthening is available to prepare a tooth for restorative dentistry or to cosmetically enhance your smile. This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose an aesthetically-pleasing smile.
Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:
- Restoration of damaged teeth – Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth. It allows more exposure of the tooth to have something for a crown to grab onto.
- Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections if the pockets are deep. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look, and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
- Dental crowns and veneers – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.
Functional Crown Lengthening and Restorative Dentistry
When decay or a tooth fracture occurs below the gumline, it may be necessary to remove a small amount of bone and gum tissue to give more room for a filling or crown to be placed. Your dentist may ask for this procedure before he or she makes a new crown for your tooth.
The edge of the restoration is deep below the gum line which is not accessible for a filling or crown to be placed, and is also usually too close to the bone. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring the bone and gum tissue. This allows your dentist to remove all the decay (cavities) and reach solid tooth structure to allow a proper fit of your restoration to the tooth. This also allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to help prevent decay and gum disease.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening
Esthetic crown lengthening is used to correct what’s commonly referred to as a “gummy smile.” A gummy smile is apparent when the gumline appears to be creeping down over the teeth, making them appear short. If your teeth appear small and your smile seems “gummy”, your teeth may actually be the proper length but hiding under too much bone and gum tissue. Esthetic crown lengthening can also be performed on teeth to even out the gum line, improving the symmetry of teeth and create a more pleasing smile.
To correct a gummy smile, it is necessary to remove excess gum tissue and bone, therefore allowing more of the natural tooth surface to appear.