Crown lengthening is a procedure to expose tooth structure and could be referred to as “tooth lengthening”. There are two main reasons to do this procedure – either to expose sound tooth structure for placement of a filling or crown or for esthetics when the gum margin is either uneven or covering too much of the tooth.
In the case of exposing sound tooth structure for restorative dentistry – the tissue is reflected, the bone is recontoured and the tissue moved down allowing the new restoration to end on natural tooth structure. Typically Dr. Benedon will also refine the tooth preparation and adjust the temporary crown to fit the new position of the gum tissue.
Here is an example of a situation where there was Inadequate Tooth Structure for Restorative Dentistry and Crown Lengthening was performed. Note the increase in length of the tooth and the new temporary crown in place.
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Before Crown Lengthening After With Temporary Crown In Place
In the case of an uneven gum margin or too much gum tissue (a “Gummy Smile“), gum is removed to improve the esthetics. Tissue can either be blended or excised depending on the situation. Here is an example of a “Gummy Smile” before and after treatment.
Crown lengthening can be performed on a single tooth, multiple teeth or an entire arch. The procedure takes approximately one hour but will largely depend on the number of teeth involved. The procedure is performed with local anesthetic and involves minimal postoperative discomfort. Sutures are typically placed and are removed at one week post-operatively. The healing is evaluated at six weeks post-operatively and then the patient may begin their final restorations.