Crown Lengthening – What It Is & Why It’s Needed

added on: March 19, 2012

Crown lengthening, also known as a gum lift, is primarily a cosmetic dental procedure that enhances the appearance of your smile by exposing more of the tooth. When the gum line is uneven, crown lengthening can also recontour the gum line.

In crown lengthening, excess gum tissue is removed around the upper tooth or teeth to make them appear longer when teeth look too short. This is a popular procedure for people who have a gummy smile. This smile (like Katie Couric’s) is when the person has too much gum showing above their upper teeth when they smile. Removing excess gum tissue can give a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Additionally, crown lengthening may be advised for dental health and medical reasons. For example, if decay or a fracture exist under the gum line, this procedure exposes more of the tooth in order to support a tooth-colored filling or porcelain crown.

In the procedure, the selected area of the gums is reduced and carefully contoured through the removal of small amounts of tissue. When necessary, the bone supporting the tooth can be shaped so it follows the regular bone outline. We typically perform crown lengthening while the patient is under a local anesthetic. We use a laser specifically designed for gum procedures, which enables precision recontouring while sealing the tissue simultaneously. This enhances patient comfort and speeds healing time greatly.

Typically, our patients can return to their normal routines in a day or two.  Depending on the patient, complete healing may take one to two weeks.