Crown lengthening is usually performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for a restorative 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 to correct this condition 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 along the entire jaw. This procedure is often called esthetic crown lengthening.

Crown lengthening is also sometimes required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration but there is not enough tooth structure above the gums to fabricate it. The edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue and not immediately accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone.

Crown lengthening allows your general dentist to fabricate a properly fitting filling or crown. 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 without worrying that it will come off.

Crown lengthening takes approximately one hour to complete but depends on the number of teeth involved. 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 may be necessary to adjust the surrounding teeth to create a more natural gum and bone outline.

When the procedure is completed, the incisions will be rinsed with sterile saline. Various stitches are placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. Your tooth/teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned. You will need to be seen in one or two weeks to remove the sutures and evaluate your healing. The surgical site should be completely healed in approximately two to three months following the procedure.

Call our office at (360) 524-4236 to schedule a crown lengthening consultation.