Crown Lengthening

Basic Information

When a tooth is fractured or decay extends below the gum line, the area must be uncovered before it can be restored. In order for the gum to heal against the tooth in a healthy manner, there must be 3mm of healthy tooth between the margin of a filling or cap and the rest of the bone, which supports the tooth. This allows space for proper attachment of the gum to the tooth. A tooth which is broken or decayed below the gum is also difficult, if not impossible, for your dentist to restore correctly, as access and visualization of the area is compromised.

Even the best filling or cap will trap bacteria where the restoration meets the tooth. If this area is below the gum where you cannot properly clean it, the bacterial accumulation results in both periodontal problems and the formation of a new cavity at the base of the filling.

A crown lengthening, which reshapes the gum and supporting tissues, will solve these problems. After treatment, the fractured or decayed area is uncovered and accessible to the dentist for restoration, and the needed has been established between the supporting tissues and the final position of the restoration. This will allow the final restoration to be placed in a healthy environment.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: How long does a crown lengthening take?
A: The visit to perform the procedure is about 60 minutes long. The stitches are removed 7-10 days later in a 5-10 minute visit. One 10 minute exam may be scheduled to ensure that the area is ready for restoration by the dentist.

Q: Will the crown lengthening procedure hurt?
A: Only local anesthetic will be necessary to perform a Pocket Reduction Procedure. During the visit, you will feel nothing once the area has been numbed. When the local anesthetic wears off, there will be some mild discomfort. Medication will be prescribed to control any discomfort you might experience.

Q: Will I be able to resume my normal activities after the procedure?
A: It is recommended that you limit your physical activity for 48 hours after the procedure. This means not doing anything that will raise your heart rate such as lifting heavy objects, exercising, etc. The procedure should not cause you to miss work.

Q: Will I be able to drive myself home?
A: Unless you choose to take a relaxant, you should be able to drive yourself to and from your appointment. We are not going to impair your ability to drive.

Q: Will I be able to speak and eat normally after the procedure?
A: You should be able to speak normally after the anesthetic has worn off. It is best to wait until the anesthesia has worn off after surgery before eating. If you have trouble chewing, soft foods are recommended. Resume your normal diet as soon as possible; however, it is recommended that you avoid crunchy or spicy foods.

Q: How well does the crown lengthening procedure work?
A: Crown lengthening is highly predictable. The end result is a tooth which may be restored in a healthy manner and which should prove very stable over time.