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Crown Lengthening

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Treating your “gummy smile” with aesthetic crown lengthening

Have you ever thought “my teeth seem too small” or “I show too much gum when I smile?”  If so, you are not alone!  Approximately 10% of patients show too much gum when smiling.  But there is good news!  Oftentimes a “gummy smile” can be corrected.

Typically, teeth that appear short, or square, may actually be the proper length but are covered up by too much gum tissue. If this is the case, the gum line is repositioned to expose the full contour of your hiding, natural tooth, providing an immediate and dramatic improvement in your smile!

There are several benefits of aesthetic crown lengthening, including:

Nearly instant results

A relatively short healing time with minimal discomfort

An improved appearance of your teeth so they look no longer look like short, baby teeth

A more symmetric, attractive, harmonious smile

A new sense of self confidence

Improved periodontal health

Functional crown lengthening

Functional crown lengthening is a common surgical procedure that is required when your tooth needs a new crown and the decay extends deep below the gum line and thus is inaccessible for your dentist.  Without this procedure, oftentimes the surrounding gums remain chronically inflamed and tender.  The procedure typically takes an hour and involves adjusting the levels of the gums and underlying bone surrounding the affected tooth to expose more of the tooth surface.  This provides enough tooth structure so the new crown or filling is stronger and more secure in the future.  Most crown lengthening procedures are straightforward and there is minimal or no post-operative discomfort.  Typically, we like to see you back 2 weeks following the procedure to evaluate healing and remove any dissolving stitches that remain.

Typically, we like to wait 4-6 weeks for your gums to fully settle into their new position before finalizing your new crown.  If the future crown is to be placed in an aesthetic area (your smile zone), we may elect to wait 8-12 weeks before taking final impressions, as the gums may continue to shrink slightly during this healing period.  It is important to ensure that your gums are in their final position before your new crown is made.

Case Study 1

This case required a combination of aesthetic and functional crown lengthening to optimize this patients smile and allow for crown placement on multiple severely decayed and broken down teeth.

Temporary restorations were placed prior to crown lengthening surgery. Notice how the gums are inflamed as the temporary crowns were placed too close to the bone. Also, note how the teeth look too short and square and asymmetry exists at the level of the gingival margin.

Final restorations were placed 3 months following crown lengthening surgery. Note the proper height and width of the crowns and the significantly improved gum health.