Crown lengthening is usually performed to improve the health of the gum tissue, prepare the mouth for a 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 aesthetically-pleasing smile. The procedure involves reshaping or re-contouring 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 the entire gum line.
Crown lengthening is often required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. If the edge of that restoration is deep below the gum tissue it is not accessible for your dentist to prepare the tooth properly as it is too close to the bone, or even below the bone.
Crown lengthening allows us to clear tissues beyond the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. 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 recurrence of tooth decay and gum disease.
Crown lengthening takes approximately one hour but will largely depend on the amount of teeth involved and if any amount of bone will need to be removed. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic and involves a series of small incisions around the teeth to separate the gums from the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the procedure, it will probably be necessary to adjust bone around adjacent teeth to enable a more even reshaping.
When Dr. Pollack, Odrich or Sarmiento is satisfied that the teeth have sufficient exposure and the procedure is completed, sutures and a protective bandage are then placed to help secure the new gum-to-tooth relationship. Your 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.