Crown lengthening (or crown exposure) is required when your tooth needs a new crown or other restoration. The edge of that restoration or decay is deep below the gum tissue and not accessible. It is also usually too close to the bone or below the bone. There needs to be a clear distance between the restoration/crown margin and bone. This critical distance is called the biologic width. If this space is violated, chronic inflammation can result, which may lead to bone loss and result in the loss of the tooth.
The procedure involves adjusting the level of the gum tissue and bone around the tooth to better accommodate a new crown or restoration. This allows us to reach the edge of the restoration, ensuring a proper fit to the tooth. It should also provide enough tooth structure so the new restoration will not come loose in the future. This allows you to clean the edge of the restoration when you brush and floss to prevent decay and gum disease.
A procedure most often incorporated into crown lengthening is termed biologic root shaping and consists of modification of the tooth root surface performed by the periodontist. This facilitates fabrication of an ideally fitting crown that allows greater cleansability with greater resistance to future periodontal disease and/or decay.
This procedure is also performed to treat a “gummy smile” that makes teeth appear too short. Esthetic crown lengthening procedures reshape the gums and sometimes the underlying bone to create the correct proportions of the ideal smile. Our doctors will perform a Smile Evaluation to assess the unique treatment possibilities for each individual patient.