In a crown lengthening, the crown being referred to is the crown portion of your natural tooth. Dental crown lengthening is when gum tissue and/or bone is removed to expose more of a tooth, usually in order to repair it. If you have a tooth that is broken off at the gum line due to an accident or tooth decay, the dentist will need to perform a crown lengthening before repairing the tooth. That’s because there just isn’t enough tooth structure above the gums for an artificial crown (or a filling) to attach to. Trying to fit a crown on such a tiny foundation would make it ill-fitting, uncomfortable & at a higher risk of irritation, chronic inflammation, & further tooth decay & damage. It’s a better choice to remove some of the tissue around your tooth & seat the crown properly.
The first step in the procedure is to gain access to the structure of your tooth. The dentist will make small cuts in your gum tissue to pull it away from your tooth, allowing access to the tooth root & your bone. In many cases, the bit of bone will need to be removed in addition to gum tissue. After the bone has been reshaped, the entire area will be washed & the gums stitched back together. Remember, you will not be able to feel any of this during the procedure because we will keep the area totally numb.
Crown lengthening is considered minor surgery in part because patients report relatively little pain in the recovery period afterward. Nevertheless, we recognize that people’s pain tolerances vary & we’ll recommend or prescribe the proper pain management medications in order to keep you comfortable after your crown lengthening. We’ll also provide all the instructions you’ll need for home care in order to make sure the incisions heal properly & comfortably, including how to clean the area & brush your teeth.