Who Needs Crown Lengthening?


When you visit your dentist to have a cavity filled or a crown placed, they may recommend that you also lengthen the crown. This is a surgical procedure, so that it may catch you off guard. However, if a method is indicated, it is typically for a good cause.

What is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that involves reshaping your gums at the base of the affected tooth to expose more of the tooth's surface and, if necessary, adjusting the tooth's bone level to extend the height or size of the visible portion of the tooth so that the new restoration has enough surface area to be held in place.

Your gums require at least 2 millimeters of surface area to bind with a crown. This not only aids in bonding but also prevents food from being trapped or other potential difficulties, such as various restorative dental items deteriorating or slipping off the tooth.

Crown Lengthening - When Is it Necessary?

Crown lengthening is advised for a wide range of dental problems. The most common reasons for crown lengthening include teeth that are too short, significant tooth rot below the gum line, or a broken or fractured tooth beneath the gum line.

When a tooth suffers serious decay or fractures, the healthy region that remains shrinks. This impacts the success rate of tooth restoration since restorative dental equipment has a limited surface area. Crown lengthening aims to increase the success rate of restorative dental appliances by exposing more of the tooth's healthy surface area. With more surface area, various dental items are more likely to stay in place without deteriorating or sliding off.

What to Expect From the Procedure?

Crown lengthening is a regular operation that, while daunting at first, is not anything patients need to be concerned about. Most crown-lengthening treatments take less than an hour and are performed in an outpatient facility. Before the surgery, you will most likely be fitted with a temporary crown to safeguard your tooth until your permanent crown can be installed approximately a month after your crown-lengthening procedure.

Under a local anesthetic, a periodontist (gum specialist) will recontour the area of gums surrounding the tooth and the underlying bone in question using specialized surgical instruments. Your periodontist will recontour the gums and underlying bone until the teeth are the proper length for applying dental appliances and are symmetrically appealing. Following the surgery, most patients require little post-operative care beyond minor pain relief with over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen. An ice pack can aid with face swelling, but drinking and smoking should be avoided. You can return to work and start eating soft foods the day following surgery, but you should avoid intense exercise for two days. Full gum tissue recovery will take one to two weeks, and your periodontist will remove your stitches.

After four to six weeks, your periodontist will examine your teeth and gums before approving you for your permanent replacement.

It is crucial to remember to avoid hot foods for the first 24 hours after the surgery. Enhanced sensitivity to hot and cold meals is normal. Because the roots of your teeth are now exposed, your sensitivity will rise. However, this will disappear with time or after your permanent crown is installed.

When to Contact Your Periodontist

After a crown-lengthening treatment, keep a lookout for potential consequences. Complications are infrequent, but they include:

  • Bleeding that will not stop;

  • Pain persists despite ibuprofen use;

  • Infection;

  • Significant swelling or drainage from the affected area;

  • Your bandage loosens or comes off;

  • The development of lumps (swollen lymph nodes) beneath your jaw or in your neck.

If you see any of the symptoms listed above, contact your periodontist immediately so that they can treat the problem.

Medical Health