Dental Crown Lengthening

Providing More Tooth for Procedures

Crown lengthening is a common surgical procedure that is done when a tooth needs to be fixed. Sometimes, not enough of the tooth sticks out above the gum to support a filling or crown. The surgeon removes gum tissue, bone or both to expose more of a tooth.

Reasons for crown lengthening

  • Restoration of damaged teeth:  Crown lengthening can be used to prepare a tooth that is damaged below the gumline for restoration.
  • Cosmetic uses: Having an extra “gummy” smile can make the teeth look short, and also make someone more likely to develop gum disease. Crown lengthening can be used to give the teeth a more natural, healthy look.
  • Dental crowns:  Crown lengthening can be used to give more space between the jawbone and dental crown. This prevents new replacement crowns from causing damage once it is in place.

What does crown lengthening involve?

Procedure time varies on the severity. Under local anesthetic, Dr. Regan DDS will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums away from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires treatment, adjacent teeth are usually treated as well to keep things even. Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.

In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown. In other cases, our staff will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth. The bone is usually removed using a combination of special hand instruments, and rotary instruments.

When Dr. Regan DDS is satisfied the teeth have sufficient exposure, the wound will be cleaned with sterile water and the gum tissue will be sutured with small stitches. The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned.

An intraoral (periodontal) bandage will be used to protect the area from infection. Prescriptions may be provided for pain medication, and a mouth rinse may be given to help reduce any bacteria attempting to re-colonize. It takes approximately two to three months to fully heal.

If you have any questions about crown lengthening, please ask our staff.