Dental Crown Lengthening
A common type of oral surgery performed by a periodontist to extend the height or size of the tooth that is visible above the gum line is the surgical procedure known as dental crown lengthening.
The aim of this surgery is reducing gum tissue, bone level or both to expose more of the natural tooth structure and gain better access for the stability of a crown to hold it in place.
A dental crown lengthening is indicated when a filling or a crown need to be placed but the tooth is broken at the gum line, or tooth decay has extended below the gum line, and the restoration cannot be supported. This procedure can be done to one tooth, several teeth, or even the gum line to expose a natural, broad smile to treat a dental problem known as “gummy” smile.
When performing a dental crown lengthening, local anesthesia has to be applied first. Once the gum tissue and underlying bone around the tooth is reshaped, and appropriate amount of the roots and surrounding bone are exposed, the surgical area is washed with sterile salt water and the gum tissue is stabilized with sutures and sterile bandages over the stitches, which are removed seven to ten days later.
This simple procedure, relatively painless, is usually done at the dental office in less than one hour if only one tooth is involved. When several teeth need treatment and both bone and soft tissue have to be removed, the procedure will take longer. Finally, the patient is instructed to return to the restorative dentist, who will place the appropriate restoration, after adequate healing had been achieved.