Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. In addition, crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct hyperplasia, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping and recontouring bone and gum tissue. This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth, or the entire gum line to produce an aesthetically pleasing smile.


Reasons for Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that may be required or beneficial in a variety of situations. Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:

  • Preparing for new crowns– Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This is an issue in many broken teeth or teeth with decay deep under the gum line. The procedure will also produce more tooth structure above the gum line which will allow your restorative dentist to provide a more ideal, mechanically sound restoration. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.
  • Cosmetic uses– Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and may increase susceptibility to periodontal infections via deeper pocketing. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.


What does crown lengthening involve?

Crown lengthening is performed with local anesthesia and can be done with intravenous sedation or without. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend on how many teeth are involved. If your restorative dentist has placed a temporary crown, it may be removed prior to the procedure, and replaced immediately afterwards.

Dr. Knochel will make a series of small incisions between the soft tissue and tooth in order to separate the gingival tissue (gums) away from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the recontour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping. Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone.

When Dr. Knochel has achieved the improved appearance of the teeth, the gum tissue will be repositioned with small stitches. The teeth may look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned. In many cases, only slight changes in the position of the tissue will be evident, providing just enough tooth structure to facilitate the restorative or esthetic outcome without being too aggressive.

Prescriptions may be provided for pain medication. The surgical site will be completely healed in a few weeks, allowing for completion of restorative work.
If you are concerned about having a “gummy smile” or need a new crown or restoration, our periodontist may recommend that you undergo crown lengthening in Tucson, Arizona. We encourage you to get in touch with our team by calling our office at 520-747-7944 today.