Crown lengthening (AKA: "crown-elongation" or "crown-extension") is a surgical procedure that is done when the tooth is too short to provide adequate retention for a restoration (usually a crown).
When a tooth has a deep cavity, a crown and buildup are usually needed to restore the tooth. If the cavity extends too far below the gums, it becomes impossible to predictably make a crown that will last for any length of time. Performing crown lengthening where indicated improves the prognosis for the tooth.
Crown lengthening nearly always involves removing and recontouring some of the bone around the tooth. This results in more tooth structure above the gums and smooth flowing gum contours. Not every tooth that needs a crown also needs crown lengthening surgery, it is only necessary when a deep cavity or crack is present.
Reasons for Crown Lengthening
To be able to keep a tooth that would otherwise be removed
Provide gum contours that make the tooth easy-to-clean again
Improve the appearance of the gum line (in some cases)
Provide a restored tooth that lasts longer
What Does Crown Lengthening Involve?
First, the dentist or periodontist will thoroughly numb the tooth or teeth needing crown lengthening. During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. After the procedure your dentist can now prepare the tooth for a functional, long lasting crown. As always, proper brushing and flossing is key to insuring the maximum life of your new crown.