Dental crowns are commonly used prosthetic dental devices that are designed to completely cover or cap the exposed portion of a tooth. Dental crowns are most often used to preserve a patient’s natural tooth after it has become severely damaged as a result of disease, tooth decay, or injury. Sometimes, dental crowns are used for purely cosmetic purposes.
A dental crown permanently attaches to a patient’s permanent tooth. In order for a secure attachment to form between the dental crown and the natural tooth, there needs to be enough of the natural tooth visible above the gum line for the dental crown to attach. Sometimes, a crown lengthening procedure is required before a patient can receive a dental crown.
What Is a Crown Lengthening?
A crown lengthening (sometimes also called a crown extension) is a surgical procedure that is designed to recontour a patient’s gum tissue (and sometimes bone tissue as well) in order to lengthen the portion of a tooth that is exposed above the gum line. Crown lengthening procedures are performed for both cosmetic and restorative dentistry purposes.
Although they are considered to be surgery, crown lengthening procedures are fairly simple and quite commonly performed. Patients are treated with local anesthetics to ensure they do not experience any pain or discomfort during treatment. Typically, a crown lengthening procedure requires about an hour for the duration of the procedure.
5 Reasons Why You Might Need a Crown Lengthening
1. Your Tooth Is Too Short
The bond between your gums and teeth helps to prevent food debris and bacteria from becoming stuck between the gums and teeth and causing problems like periodontal disease. In order to create a strong bond and seal between the gum tissue and tooth, the gums need at least about two available millimeters of exposed tooth.
If a tooth is too short to promote good gum health due to genetics, an injury, or serious tooth decay, then a crown lengthening procedure might be necessary.
2. Your Tooth Is Fractured or Broken Below the Gum Line
If you incur an injury to the face or a weakened tooth gives way and breaks off or fractures below the gum line, then you might need a crown lengthening procedure so that your dentist or prosthodontist has access to the fractured portion of the tooth for treatment.
3. You Have Significant Tooth Decay Below the Gum Line
Cavities do not always occur on the exposed surface of the tooth. Sometimes, they develop below the gum line. In the case of a dental cavity below the gum line, a crown lengthening procedure might be necessary in order to lower the tissue level, exposing more of the tooth, to provide the dentist better access to the cavity for treatment.
4. You Have Excessive Gum Tissue
Some people have excessive gum tissue. This is sometimes referred to as a “gummy smile.” For some people, having a gummy smile is a cosmetic concern that they wish to address to change the appearance of their smile. Excessive gum tissue, however, can also be an oral health problem because it can be difficult to maintain and keep clean. As a result, it can increase a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease.
A crown lengthening (or gum recontouring) procedure can be performed to remove excessive gum tissues, expose more of a patient’s tooth surface, and correct a gummy smile.
5. For a Better Fitting Dental Restoration
A variety of dental restorations and cosmetic treatments require an anchor (usually the patient’s natural tooth) to fix it securely inside the mouth. In addition to dental crowns, this includes restorations and cosmetic treatments such as dental veneers and dental bridges.
If there is not enough natural tooth surface exposed above the gum line, then these dental restorations would not be able to achieve a secure attachment. In such instances, a crown lengthening procedure can help to expose more of the tooth’s surface so that your prosthodontist can create a secure and lasting bond between a new dental restoration and the patient’s natural tooth.
Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry With Our Loveland Prosthodontist
Dr. Bock is one of the only prosthodontists in the Loveland, Colorado area, and he takes pride in providing patients of Northern Colorado Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry with the very best care using some of the most advanced treatment technologies available. Dr. Bock is highly experienced and trained in dental prosthetics.
Whether you’re in need of a dental crown or another restorative or cosmetic procedure, we are here to create and recommend a treatment that is personalized to meet your needs and help you achieve your smile goals. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Bock at Northern Colorado Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry, we welcome you to contact our office today.