Crown Lengthening

What is a Crown Lengthening Procedure?

Crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over a natural tooth for aesthetic or structural reasons. A crown may be recommended when a tooth is cracked, broken, or misshapen. A crown can also be used to complete dental procedures, such as bridges, root canals, and dental implants. Crowns must be able to firmly affix to an existing tooth.

Crown lengthening can help. Dental surgeons perform crown lengthening by recontouring gum tissue, and sometimes bone, to expose more of a tooth’s surface for a crown. It’s a common procedure and often takes less than an hour to complete.

The Purpose of a Crown Lengthening Procedure

Crown lengthening can be necessary if there isn’t enough of the tooth in place to hold the crown on its own. Teeth that are broken or affected by tooth decay may prohibit a crown from firmly attaching.

Crown lengthening reduces gum tissue and shaves down bone when necessary, so more of the tooth is above the gum’s surface. A properly fitted crown allows for better oral hygiene and comfort.

Crown lengthening is a very common surgical procedure, usually performed in less than one hour. Specialized surgical instruments are used to re-contour both the gum tissue and the underlying bone around the tooth for which your crown has been planned. Only the tissue that is in the immediate area surrounding the tooth will be treated, and there is no risk of damage to the neighboring teeth.

The Procedure

Crown lengthening is performed by your Dentist under local anesthetic. The selected area of the gums is reduced and contoured through the removal of small amounts of tissue. The goal is to lengthen the appropriate teeth and create greater symmetry at the gum line. For most patients, crown lengthening does not require any additional post-operative care, and any slight pain can be easily managed with ibuprofen. While crown lengthening patients can return to work and begin eating soft foods the day after surgery, full recovery of the gum tissue generally takes one or two weeks.