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3 Ways Crown Lengthening Can Save Your Smile

A smiling lady

A lot of procedural names in dentistry evoke the wrong mental images, and crown lengthening is one of them. Although many people assume this procedure involves adding bulk onto the ends of teeth, it actually involves trimming away a small portion of the gum tissue to make the tooth look longer. Here are three ways crown lengthening can save your smile and why you should consider the procedure.

1. Makes Your Smile Brighter

Tooth eruption is a little bit different for every person, and unfortunately, some people have a smile that changes well into their twenties. When you are a child and you develop your permanent teeth, they move through the gum tissue and then the tissue around the tooth stabilizes. However, in some people the tissue doesn't stabilize until later, leaving them with gum overgrowth.

Gum tissue trauma and certain medications can also lead to overgrowth, making the smile look immature. When the bulk of the tooth crown is covered up with gum tissue, smiles can look child-like, making people feel self-conscious about their teeth.

Fortunately, dentists can use crown lengthening to make your smile look great. The ideal amount of exposed tooth crown is about 10 millimeters, and the tooth width to length ratio should be about 75%-85%.

During crown lengthening, dentists carefully numb the area around the teeth and then use a special laser to remove extra gum tissue. Because gum tissue doesn't regenerate like other cells in the body, crown lengthening is permanent, as long as the procedure occurs after the gums have stabilized. The result is a smile that looks brighter and more symmetrical, which can help people to regain self-confidence.

2. Improves Brushing and Flossing

While gummy smiles are mostly a cosmetic problem, they can cause oral health issues in some instances, since teeth that are covered with gum tissue become harder to brush and floss. If plaque and bacteria is allowed to build around the gumline, gingival pockets can even form underneath the area, potentially causing infections and loosening teeth.

If your teeth are difficult to brush and floss, talk with your doctor about crown lengthening. By gently removing excessive gingival displays, the teeth become easier to care for.

Additionally, gingival injuries become less of a problem when there is less tissue to worry about. For instance, if you tend to damage gum tissue while you brush or floss, crown lengthening could keep excess tissue out of the way, preventing abrasions, pain, and scarring.  

3. Paves the Way for Complex Restorations

Tooth damage can be complicated, with injuries ranging from simple chips to fractures that extend beyond the gumline. Crown lengthening can help dentists to gain access to more tooth structure, making restorations a lot easier to accomplish.

For instance, if you break a tooth and the fracture extends beyond the gumline, crown lengthening can expose more of the tooth's natural enamel and dentin, making it possible for dentists to place permanent crowns. Being able to adhere a crown to a damaged tooth can help you to restore your biting ability, while preventing the need for extractions and protecting the health of your jaw.

Crown lengthening can also help dentists to determine how serious dental issues are, since they will be able to see the deeper tooth structures. After numbing the area and using a laser to gently sculpt away extra gum tissue, dentists can determine how far cracks or fractures extend so they know which steps to take next in the restoration.

Improving your oral health and the appearance of your smile is no easy task, which is why Jay A. Hollander, DDS is here to help. As a trusted dentist with more than 35 years worth of experience, our Dr. Hollander can give you a gorgeous smile you can be proud of. Give our office a call to make your next appointment.