Crown Lengthening: When and Why You May Need This Periodontal Treatment

Crown lengthening is a periodontal treatment that may be recommended for a variety of dental concerns, ranging from functional to aesthetic. As a potential patient, it’s essential to understand the basics of this procedure, why it’s important, and how it can benefit you. At The Perio Group, we are committed to providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your dental care. Today we will talk about concept of crown lengthening and discuss when and why you might need this treatment.

What is crown lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure designed to expose more of a tooth’s structure, either for functional or aesthetic purposes. During this process, the gum tissue and sometimes the bone surrounding the tooth are reshaped or removed to reveal more of the tooth’s surface. This can be done for a single tooth or several teeth, depending on the patient’s needs.

There are different types of crown lengthening procedures, which we will discuss briefly:

  1. Functional crown lengthening: This type of procedure is typically performed when a tooth has broken or decayed below the gumline, making it challenging to restore with a filling or crown. By exposing more of the tooth’s structure, functional crown lengthening allows us to effectively repair and restore the tooth. This can help save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted.
  2. Aesthetic crown lengthening: This procedure is done primarily for cosmetic reasons. If a patient feels their teeth appear too short or their smile is too “gummy,” aesthetic crown lengthening can help create a more balanced and visually appealing appearance. This procedure can be performed on one or several teeth to achieve the desired look.
  3. Combined crown lengthening: In some cases, both functional and aesthetic crown lengthening may be necessary. This can occur when a patient has a combination of functional issues, such as tooth decay, and desires a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

The benefits of crown lengthening for patients are numerous, and they include:

  • Improved oral health: Crown lengthening can help treat or prevent periodontal disease by making it easier to clean and maintain the teeth and gumline. This, in turn, can lead to better overall oral health.
  • Enhanced appearance: For patients unhappy with the look of their smile, crown lengthening can help create a more balanced, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  • Tooth preservation: In cases where tooth damage or decay extends below the gumline, crown lengthening can be an essential step in preserving and restoring the tooth, potentially preventing the need for extraction.

When is crown lengthening necessary?

Crown lengthening may be necessary in various situations, each presenting unique challenges and opportunities for improving a patient’s oral health and function. Some common scenarios that may require crown lengthening include:

  1. Gummy smile: If you feel that your smile is too “gummy” or that your teeth appear too short, crown lengthening can be performed to expose more of the tooth’s structure and create a more balanced appearance. This can significantly boost your confidence and help you feel more comfortable showing off your smile.
  2. Tooth decay: In cases where decay extends below the gumline, crown lengthening can be a crucial step in restoring the tooth’s structure. By revealing more of the tooth, we can effectively remove the decay and repair the damage with a filling or crown.
  3. Damaged tooth: If a tooth is broken or cracked below the gumline, crown lengthening can be performed to expose enough tooth structure for a successful restoration. This can help save a tooth that might otherwise need extraction.

To illustrate the benefits of crown lengthening, let’s consider a case study. A patient came to The Perio Group with a damaged tooth that had broken below the gumline due to an accident. Dr. I. Stephen Brown determined that a crown lengthening procedure was necessary to save the tooth and prevent further damage. By performing functional crown lengthening, Dr. Brown exposed enough tooth structure to place a crown securely, thus preserving the tooth and restoring its function.

The crown lengthening process

The crown lengthening process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Consultation: During your initial consultation, Dr. Brown and our team will examine your teeth and gums to determine if crown lengthening is the appropriate treatment option. We will discuss your concerns and expectations and develop a customized treatment plan.
  2. Procedure: Crown lengthening is performed under local anesthesia, ensuring your comfort during the process. Depending on the specific procedure, Dr. Brown will carefully reshape or remove gum tissue, and in some cases, bone, to reveal more of the tooth’s structure.
  3. Recovery: After the procedure, you will receive detailed post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing and minimize discomfort. This may include guidelines for pain management, oral hygiene, and diet.
  4. Follow-up care: Our team will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing and address any concerns that may arise.

Some common questions and concerns patients have about the crown lengthening process include:

  • Will the procedure be painful? Local anesthesia is used to ensure your comfort during the procedure, and post-operative instructions will help manage any discomfort during recovery.
  • How long will the healing process take? Healing times can vary depending on the extent of the procedure and individual factors. Dr. Brown and our team will provide you with an estimated timeline for your specific case.

Choosing a crown lengthening provider

Selecting the right dental professional for your crown lengthening procedure is crucial to achieving the best possible outcome. Here are some tips to help you find a qualified and experienced provider who offers crown lengthening:

  • Certifications: Look for a provider who is board-certified or holds relevant certifications in periodontics or dentistry. This ensures they have undergone the necessary training and possess the expertise to perform the procedure effectively.
  • Experience: Inquire about the provider’s experience in performing crown lengthening procedures. An experienced professional will be better equipped to handle a variety of cases and achieve successful outcomes.
  • Patient reviews: Research patient reviews and testimonials to get a sense of the provider’s reputation and the experiences of others who have undergone crown lengthening. This can give you valuable insights into the quality of care provided and help you make a more informed decision.
  • Comfort and communication: Schedule a consultation to assess how comfortable you feel with the provider and their team. It’s important to choose a professional who listens to your concerns, explains the process thoroughly, and addresses any questions you may have.

At The Perio Group, our team, led by Dr. I. Stephen Brown, is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality care in a comfortable and compassionate environment. We are proud to be one of the best periodontal practices, offering crown lengthening and other comprehensive dental services to help you achieve optimal oral health.

If you’re interested in crown lengthening or have questions about any other dental procedures, we invite you to schedule a consultation with us. We are here to address your concerns, develop a personalized treatment plan, and guide you every step of the way towards a healthier, more confident smile. Contact us today to get started on your journey to better oral health.