Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is a procedure performed by a periodontist to remove excess gum and/or bone tissue from around a tooth to expose more of its surface. 

Sometimes, it’s needed so a dentist can access and treat tooth decay under the gumline; if you have excess gum tissue that shows when you smile (“gummy” smile), crown lengthening can also improve your smile’s aesthetics. 

One of the most common reasons for crown lengthening, however, is to enable the correct placement of dental crowns.

How We Use Crown Lengthening

With crown lengthening, Dr. Hsu moves the gum and bone tissue further down the tooth to expose more of its surface. Crown lengthening is often the last resort before having the tooth removed. The following are all examples of cases where your dentist might recommend crown lengthening with a periodontist.

Enable Placement of a New Dental Crown

You need a dental crown, but there isn’t enough tooth surface exposed to hold it in place. This can interfere with proper function or create an unattractive appearance. Or, the tooth may be broken or decayed in a way that prevents the crown from attaching firmly.

Provide Access to Treat a Cavity

If you have a large cavity that goes under the gumline, your dentist can't access it to properly prepare for treatment. If the tooth can’t be prepared, it compromises the fit and long-term survival of the final restoration. Following crown lengthening, your dentist can finish your case without compromise.

Replace an Old Dental Crown

An old crown that extends under the gumline can lead to chronic inflammation of your gum tissue. Over time, this can cause gum irritation, bone loss, and poor smile aesthetics. 
To help, Dr. Hsu performs functional crown lengthening to prevent gum irritation and improve the long-term survival of the tooth.

Crown Lengthening to Improve Smile Aesthetics 

We also perform crown lengthening to improve smile aesthetics. You may not think your gums play a significant role in the appearance of your smile; however, healthy gums create a beautiful frame for your healthy-looking teeth.

If you feel your teeth look too small, overly square, or if too much gum tissue shows when you smile—also known as a “gummy” smile—your gums may have grown incorrectly. 

In this case, aesthetic crown lengthening removes overgrown gums to improve the symmetry of your smile.

Recovery after Crown Lengthening

Since we numb the area we’re treating thoroughly, you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. However, it’s common to experience some discomfort as the numbness wears off. In most cases, all that’s required is an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 

Some minor swelling or bleeding is expected for the first few days, and applying a cold compress will help provide relief. After the initial healing phase, the pain and swelling will fade.

If your dentist is fitting a crown or bridge, they may wait for healing to complete. Full recovery in the back of the mouth takes about 6–12 weeks, while healing in the front can take 3–6 months.

Call Us to Schedule a Consultation Appointment

If you and your dentist have discussed crown lengthening, Dr. Hsu would be happy to meet with you. Please call Smile Again Periodontics in Temple City, CA to schedule an appointment.

It's a pleasure for us to serve patients in the San Gabriel Valley, including Temple City, San Gabriel, San Marino, Arcadia, Rosemead, Alhambra, Arcadia, South Pasadena, Monrovia, and surrounding communities.