Crown Extension {Lengthening}


The part of the tooth that is seen above the gum is termed the clinical crown.  When not enough of the clinical crown is showing, the gum must be moved down the root to expose more tooth structure.  This is called crown lengthening.

There are several situations in which crown lengthening is commonly performed.  First, to improve the appearance or esthetics of short teeth or a very “gummy” smile.  Aother common reason is to allow your restorative dentist better access to more tooth structure to either make a crown of remove decay.  Finally, a restoration such as a filling or crown may go below the gum line and get too close to the bone supporting the tooth and violate what is known as the “biologic width” or space neede for healthy gum and boe interaction.  Crown lenghtening in this case will reestablish a healthy distance between the edge of the restoration and the bone.

If the dentist is unable to reach decay that is deep under the gumline, the tooth will be lost.  As a rule, simply trimming back the gum is not sufficient, because that would expose the bone and the gum tissue would grow back to it’s original position.  Rather, we as your periodontist must reflect a flap, trim back the bone to allow assess to the decay and then suture the gum back at a lower level.  Sufficient bone must be removed to allow room below the decay for the gum to reattach to the tooth.