Why so serious? It’s likely a question you have heard in one form or another if you have a “gummy” smile you are shy about. Beyond making teeth appear longer and more uniform in length, crown lengthening can enhance your confidence to smile, exposing the longer more uniform teeth that have been covered by access gum. It can also make it easier to care for your teeth and gums. Find out how functional and esthetic crown lengthening can improve the health and appearance of your smile.
Esthetic Crown Lengthening
Esthetic crown lengthening is indicated for patients who genetically have not experienced a natural phenomenon called altered passive eruption where bone and gum to not “settle” to a normal level after tooth eruption as an early teen. Teeth often appear short and smiles often appear “gummy”. By reestablishing a normal level of the gum and related bone, an enhanced esthetic result is noted. Gums appear to have moved up and the proportions of the teeth are esthetically pleasing. Dr. Anderson uses a minimally invasive option to complete these procedures and in some cases, can complete the procedure with a BioLase laser on its own. For other cases, a minimal access tunnel is used and bone is “pushed up” (much like a cuticle over your fingernail) to reestablish more normal anatomy. The gum can then be set to drape in a natural, anatomic way.
Note: Crown lengthening entails reshaping both the gums and bone. If the bone is not enhanced, the procedure is simply known as “gingival contouring” or “gingivectomy” and is often correlated with gum level relapse. Dr. Anderson will examine your presentation to ensure you are receiving the correct course of treatment and educate you in detail as to your options.
Functional Crown Lengthening
While esthetic crown lengthening aims to improve the appearance of a smile, functional crown lengthening is used to facilitate the placement of dental restorations.
Functional crown lengthening, completed by your periodontist, involves creating mores space in the bone and gum and ultimately expose more tooth structure. This is completed so that the general dentist can adapt a crown to sound tooth structure. In cases with very minimal tooth structure remaining, without such procedures, crowns and restorations cannot be completed. While their goals are different, the procedures for functional and esthetic crown lengthening are essentially the same (as described above).
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