Crown lengthening is the repositioning of the supporting structures of the tooth/teeth to expose a problem below the gum line and/or to make a longer appearing tooth/teeth.
Often times crown lengthening is needed before a crown is done by the general dentist. If you have decay, or a broken off tooth, that extends below the gum line, the dentist needs exposure of the decay/fracture and exposure of some of the healthy tooth.
There are also times that a longer appearing tooth/teeth will result in a more pleasing smile. This is especially seen in patients with very short clinical crowns/teeth and with the patient with the ‘gummy’ smile. Crown lengthening may be able to make the teeth longer and reduce the amount of gum exposed when you smile.
Crown lengthening is a minor surgical treatment. The area is numbed up with a local anesthetic, just as they do for a filling. The sounds you hear are those similar to having your teeth cleaned. Sometimes a dental drill is needed for a short period of time. Sutures (stitches) are placed to hold the gums in their new position. Most post op discomfort is managed with over the counter pain medication. The area is checked one week later and possibly one to two weeks after that. The crown work can usually be started about 6 weeks after the surgery.