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 a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue. This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.
Reasons for crown lengthening
Crown lengthening is a versatile and common procedure that has many effective uses and benefits. The vast majority of patients who have undergone this type of surgery are highly delighted with the results.
Here are some of the most common reasons for crown lengthening:
Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and decay. Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.
Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.
Dental crowns – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.
What does crown lengthening involve?
Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed, in addition to the soft tissue.
Dr. Flack commonly uses the DEKA CO2 laser from Florence , Italy to strategically remove the excess gum tissue in order to expose the hidden portions of the teeth. Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping.
In some cases, the teeth involved that would benefit from increased "tooth show", do not have enough gum pocket depth to only remove a small amount of gum tissue. Dr. Flack may also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth in order to prevent the gum tissue from just growing back after healing. The bone is usually cautiously removed using a combination of special hand instruments, rotary instruments or the Piezotome Cube technology that Dr. Flack uses quite often.
The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been re-positioned and the surgical site will be completely healed in approximately two to three months.