Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue.

This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative and/or cosmetic procedures. Crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct a \"gummy\" smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue.

Reasons for crown lengthening

  • Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease, trauma and decay can cause severe damage to the teeth. Crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area below the gum line for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.

  • Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look to your smile.
  • Dental crowns – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.


Crown lengthening is normally performed under local anesthetic. The amount of time this procedure takes largely depends on how many teeth are involved and how much bone and tissue needs to be removed. Any existing dental crowns will be removed prior to the procedure, and replaced immediately afterwards.

Your dentist will make a series of small incisions around the soft tissue in order to separate the gums away from the teeth. Separating the gums provides the dentist with access to the roots of the teeth and the underlying bone. Even if only one tooth requires the re-contour, neighboring teeth are usually treated to provide a more even reshaping.

In some cases, the removal of a small amount of tissue will provide enough tooth exposure to place a crown. In other cases, the dentist will also need to remove a small amount of bone from around the teeth.

When the dentist is satisfied the teeth have sufficient exposure, the wound will be cleaned with sterile water and the gum tissue will be sutured with small stitches. The teeth will look noticeably longer immediately after surgery because the gums have now been repositioned.

The dentist will secure the surgical site using an intraoral (periodontal) bandage, which serves to prevent infection. Prescriptions may be provided for pain medication, and a chlorhexidine (antimicrobial) mouth rinse may be given to help reduce any bacteria attempting to re-colonize. The surgical site will be completely healed in approximately two to three months.