Crown Lengthening – What It Is and How It Can Improve Your Smile
It doesn’t matter what age or gender we are, all of us have the desire for a beautiful smile.
Of course, having a gorgeous smile means different things to different people.
Some people have crooked teeth but are content with simply investing in a brighter, whiter smile.
On the other hand, there are some who want the works: whitening, braces, veneers, composite bonding, and implants.
Some even opt for a procedure called crown lengthening to help improve their smile.
Today, we want to explain what this procedure is and how it can not only improve your smile, but how it can also prove beneficial for your overall dental health.
What Is Crown Lengthening and How Does It Benefit Your Overall Dental Health?
If you talk with your periodontist, you’ll find crown lengthening is a surgical procedure which is actually fairly common.
In dental terminology, your tooth is made up of two main components: The root and the crown. The root is embedded in bone and covered by the gum tissue, or gingiva. The crown of the tooth is what’s exposed in the mouth.
Sometimes, due to anatomy or dental disease, some of the gum tissue (and possibly bone) needs to be removed. In other words, you’re in essence “lengthening the crown” of the tooth.
How can crown lengthening improve your overall dental health?
Here are two examples:
First, let’s assume someone has had an accident and broken a tooth off at the gumline. In order to restore the tooth, crown lengthening might be indicated. This is, of course, if there’s enough tooth structure to support a lab fabricated metal, or porcelain crown.
The periodontist will remove some of the gingival tissue to expose more of the tooth so it can be prepared for a new crown.
The second example is when a person loses a filling or they have decay under the gumline, including root surface decay. To properly excavate the decay and re-fill the tooth, crown lengthening is necessary.
In fact, it’s imperative. If a dentist tries to do their job without the crown lengthening procedure they might not remove all of the decay.
Or, even if they do, filling it can be tricky. Keeping the tooth dry can be really hard with soft tissue in the way. And it’s easy to have voids between the tooth structure and filling material in these cases, which can lead to microleakage and recurrent decay.
It saves a lot of time, frustration, risk of further decay and even infection, as well as money in the long run to do the procedure right the first time – with crown lengthening.
Crown Lengthening – How It Can Improve Your Smile
Another reason why someone might want to invest in crown lengthening is to improve the look of their smile.
For some reason, some of us are born with extra gum tissue around their teeth. This can result in the teeth looking shorter and smaller. Those with this type of smile may be referred to as having a “gummy smile.”
In order to achieve a more balanced smile, crown lengthening can be implemented.
The periodontist will remove some of the gum tissue to reveal more of the crown of the tooth. We do not remove the gum tissue to expose the root of the tooth. This procedure is only indicated if the patient has enough enamel tooth structure.
Once some of the gingiva is removed, the patient will have a fuller, more balanced smile.
This, in turn, can improve their overall level of confidence. Some people who have a “gummy smile” tend to avoid smiling fully. But once they have this procedure done, they can’t help but give people a full, confident smile.
Talk to Your Dental Team to Find out More about How to Improve Your Smile and Health
What we want aesthetically often comes down to three things:
- What we want
- What we need
- What we can afford
It’s important to talk to your dental team to get more input to find out if you’re a good candidate for certain procedures, including whitening or crown lengthening.
Working closely with your dental team can lead you down the path toward not only benefiting your smile, but your overall dental health.