Crown Lengthening procedures are surgical procedures that recontour the gum tissue, and are divided into two different categories, functional and cosmetic. Prior to relocating to Central Illinois, Dr. Noraian taught this procedure to general dentists and graduate students in periodontics.
Functional Crown Lengthening
When a tooth has decay or restorative margins that extend below the gum line, the restorative dentist faces these challenges:
- Placing the edge of a filling away from the jawbone. Dental restorations always have a seam where the filling material meets the tooth, and this seam will hold some bacteria which may set the stage for gum disease. Keeping the seam away from the bone helps to fight gum disease and maintain the health of the supporting structures around the teeth.
- Capturing a clean edge to seal off the tooth. Getting the best seal makes the tooth less prone to recurrent decay and less likely to trap bacteria which may set the stage for gum disease to get started around an otherwise healthy tooth.
- Saving teeth. Teeth that are severely worn, severely decayed, or severely fractured below the gum line require crown lengthening to adjust the gum and bone level to gain access so that your dentist can save your teeth.
Your dentist or periodontist may recommend crown lengthening for teeth that they have planned to place a crown or filling, extending below the gum line or too close to the bone encroaching on the biologic width (the healthy space between the supporting bone and crown) so the new restoration avoids damaging the gum tissue and bone. Crown Lengthening allows the restorative dentist to seal off the tooth, to keep the edge of the filling away from the bone, and to save the tooth.
Functional crown lengthening is an important part of an integrated effort to optimize your health, appearance, comfort, and function. Within as little as a couple of weeks after crown lengthening, the final restoration may be started. A beautiful new smile and improved periodontal health are your keys to smiling, eating, and speaking with comfort and confidence.
Cosmetic Crown Lengthening
Some patients may have a condition known as altered passive eruption, also known as a “gummy” smile. When teeth erupt in the mouth, it is similar to pulling a turtleneck over your head. Sometimes the turtleneck gets stuck on your nose, sometimes on your chin and sometimes on your neck. As your teeth erupt through the gum tissue, sometimes the gum tissue gets stuck on the crown and the teeth have shorter appearance.
By trimming the soft tissue around the teeth with altered passive eruption, your teeth will have a longer appearance and your smile will open up. A cosmetic crown lengthening helps brighten the smile and improve self-esteem.