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Crown Lengthening

The clinical crown is the part of the tooth seen above the gum. The gum must be moved up the root to expose more tooth when not enough of the clinical crown is showing. Periodontists call this crown lengthening.

This procedure is performed to improve appearance and to allow a dentist better access to decay. Check out the below example to see how crown lengthening works to enhance a smile’s esthetics.

If the dentist can’t reach decay that is deep under the gum, the tooth will be lost. Simply trimming back the bone is not sufficient because the bone would be exposed. Instead, the periodontist reflects a flap, trim back the bone to allow for access to the decay and then suture the gum back at the lower level. In order to allow room below the decay for the gum to reattach to the tooth, sufficient bone has to be removed.

Patients undergoing crown lengthening experience a straightforward procedure and deal with very little, if any, postoperative discomfort. In many cases, a quick ‘touch-up’ surgery is done after 4-6 weeks to enable ideal tissue form. This procedure is just as painless as the first treatment.

If a crown will be placed in a cosmetic area, the restorative dentist should wait up to two months following crown lengthening before taking final impressions. This is done to ensure that the gum is in its final position. If the patient chooses to cover the exposed root during this healing period, a temporary crown can be placed two weeks following surgery.