Crown lengthening may seem like a confusing term. How can you make the crown of a tooth any longer than it already is? Crown lengthening is accomplished not by adding tooth material, but by exposing more of the tooth material that is beneath the gums.
Why is crown lengthening done? Is it a necessary procedure? Who performs crown lengthening? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this overview of crown lengthening procedures.
What is Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening is the process of removing gum tissue and usually some support of the tooth to expose more of the tooth structure. The gums tissue is numbed using local anesthetic before the procedure. Then an adequate amount of gum and supporting tissue is removed to allow for a future restoration or esthetic improvement. Stitches may be required. A putty bandage is applied to the gums to protect them while the tissue heals.
What is the Purpose of Crown Lengthening?
Crown lengthening may be recommended for a few different reasons:
- Cosmetic improvement: Some people happen to have excess gum tissue covering their teeth, resulting in a gummy smile that causes the teeth to appear short or small. Crown lengthening can be done to improve the smile and make it look more natural.
- Preparation for a crown or filling: A tooth with a large amount of decay may have lost too much of the natural crown to place an artificial crown over it. An injury can cause a tooth to break off below the gumline, making it difficult to restore the tooth. Crown lengthening can expose more tooth material in both of these cases so that a crown can be placed over the remaining tooth and preserve the natural root structure.
- Treatment for gum disease: Excess gum tissue over the teeth can increase the risk of gum disease. It is difficult to remove plaque from the teeth when the gum tissue is covering a significant portion of the tooth material. Many blood pressure and other drugs can cause the gum to overgrow. Crown lengthening can reduce the risk of developing gum disease or help to treat existing gum disease.
Is Crown Lengthening Covered by Insurance?
Crown lengthening is considered to be necessary if it is required for functional/ health reasons. In these cases, dental insurance may cover a portion of the procedure. When crown lengthening is done for cosmetic purposes, it is not considered to be necessary. Insurance will not cover this type of care.
Who Performs Crown Lengthening?
In some cases general dentists may perform crown lengthening procedures, but it is most commonly handled by a periodontist. Periodontists specialize in treating the support structures for the teeth, primarily the gums. When you need a procedure that specifically involves gum tissue, a periodontist is the best dental specialist for the job.
How Soon After Crown Lengthening Can I Get a Crown?
It is important for the gum tissue to heal after crown lengthening before a permanent crown is placed. In some cases a temporary crown is placed while the tissue heals and while a permanent crown is made. In total it can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before your final crown restoration is complete.
Where Can I Get Crown Lengthening?
Progressive Periodontics & Implant Dentistry provides crown lengthening as a part of our comprehensive periodontal services. Whether you are interested in fixing a gummy smile or you want to save a tooth with a dental crown, there is a good chance that crown lengthening can help you achieve your desired results. After a brief evaluation we can determine whether or not crown lengthening would be effective for you.
Contact us today at one of our two convenient office locations to schedule an appointment.