The crown is the part of your tooth that’s visible above the gumline. Normally, the gums
protect your tooth roots beneath this tissue and only expose parts of the teeth that are
necessary. However, for some patients or some procedures, a dental crown lengthening is
Dental crown lengthening is a process that involves removing some gum tissue in order to
expose more of your tooth. Why would this need to be done? Here’s what you need to know
about a dental crown lengthening.
To Support a Restoration
If you’ve experienced trauma to your tooth—for instance, a cavity below your gumline or even
a tooth that’s broken off close to or below the gumline—gum tissue may prevent your dentist
from performing a complete restoration.
In cases such as these, a small amount of gum tissue may need to be removed in order for your
dentist to fully access your tooth and properly complete the restoration.
Restorations are the most common reasons a dental crown lengthening procedure is done, and
it’ll typically be done by a periodontist, who is a dentist that specializes in gum tissue. Your gum
tissue will be carefully reshaped in order to support your restoration and facilitate a healthy
To Help Gummy Smile
You may have gummy smile if an excessive amount of gum tissue covers the crowns of your
teeth. Gummy smile is often a subjective diagnosis and is more pronounced in some individuals
than in others. Gummy smile is typically the result of genetics and is more common in women
than in men.
If you have gummy smile, you may have the option of getting your gums reshaped to expose
more of your dental crown in a crown lengthening procedure done by a periodontist. During
this procedure, a laser will be used to reshape your gum tissue and remove unnecessary gum
tissue that’s covering your teeth and giving your smile a “gummy” appearance.
What Can I Expect?
Fortunately, a crown lengthening procedure is fairly straightforward. The procedure is typically
performed by a periodontist with local anesthesia. If you have dental anxiety and would like to
be sedated, you can talk with your periodontist about this option.
Only infinitesimal amounts of gum tissue are removed during the procedure, and while the full
recovery time will take approximately two weeks, you should be able to return to work and any
normal activities the day after the procedure.
For most patients, dental crown lengthening procedures can be managed with over-the-
counter pain medication. If you’re having a crown lengthening procedure done in order to
support a dental restoration, you’ll need to wait approximately 4-6 weeks in order to fully complete the restoration.
For patients who need a dental crown lengthening procedure, this procedure can go a long way
towards helping your smile get the restoration it needs or helping you enhance your
appearance if you have gummy smile. Your dentist will let you know if you need this procedure
and what you can expect during your appointment!