Need More Space!
Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS
In an ideal oral site, there is enough clinical crown above the gingiva and bone to restore a tooth. When situations are not ideal, crown lengthening is needed. Crown lengthening is a procedure that reduces the gingiva and/or bone height so more tooth structure is exposed to better support placement of a crown or restorative material and improve aesthetics. The procedure can be performed on a single tooth or multiple teeth. During treatment, a small amount of gingiva is gently removed using a scalpel, laser, and/or electrosurgery unit. When the bone must be re-contoured, the gingiva is reflected and the bone is delicately removed using a dental handpiece and hand instruments. The area is irrigated with saline followed by the placement of sutures and at times an intraoral bandage. As with any surgery, swelling, discomfort, and possible infection can be expected, but all can be managed with cold/warm compresses, pain medication, antimicrobial rinses, and antibiotics. The patient will return to their dentist for post-operative evaluations. Crown lengthening provides an adequate environment for restoration of a compromised dentition.