Crown Lengthening

You probably have never heard of the term, Crown Lengthening. But perhaps your dentist mentioned it when talking about a new crown that you need.  Unless you need it, most people do not know what crown lengthening is and how or why it is done.  

Crown lengthening is a periodontal oral surgery procedure that involves the removal and recontouring of gum tissue and/or bony structures around teeth to expose more of the tooth’s structure for either functional or esthetic reasons.  


Functional crown lengthening is a surgical procedure that may be required if you have broken a tooth below the gum line or if a filling or crown requires more tooth structures be exposed for proper support. The purpose of this type of procedure is to adjust the gum line so that your dentist has enough solid tooth structure to restore the tooth properly. 

Sometimes, functional crown lengthening requires the periodontist to reshape some of the supporting bony structures so that the restoration can be maintained longer and less likely to become loose or susceptible to bacterial infections.


Esthetic crown lengthening is often completed to help correct a ‘gummy smile.’  The appearance of a gummy smile is noticeable when the gums cover too much of the crown of the tooth, which makes the tooth appear smaller or shorter than it should be or what is usually esthetically pleasing. Having a smile that may not make you feel your best can have a direct impact on how much you smile and even your confidence. Improving the gums using esthetic crown lengthening can help you have a more natural and attractive smile. 

Just as in functional crown lengthening, sometimes the periodontist will need to reshape the bone in the areas to give the teeth a more natural appearance. The procedure can also prepare patients for future cosmetic dental work as well.


Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure that is performed by a periodontist, an expert in oral surgery of the gums. Although it is a surgical treatment, it is a rather simple procedure that is done in the office using local anesthesia. During the procedure, you periodontist carefully recontours excess tissues and sutures them in place.  


While recovery time can vary depending on the specific procedure and patient, typically, initial recovery is smooth if patients follow their post-op instructions.  During the procedure, patients are always comfortable because they are numb.  After they go home, they will have specific instructions to follow, which will promote active healing.  

Post-procedural discomfort and minor swelling may occur but can be managed with over the counter anti-inflammatory medications and cold compresses.  Patients will be instructed to consume a softer diet and use specific mouth rinses that protect the mouth and encourage healing.  

Patients will notice that initial healing occurs quickly in as little as days or a couple of weeks. But, for functional crown lengthening, your dentist will want to wait for complete healing before restoring the teeth, which may take several months, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
Whether your dentist has recommended crown lengthening for functional reasons or you are interested in improving your smile with esthetic crown lengthening, you can trust the leading periodontal practice in Central PA to treat you with the care and compassion that you deserve!  Contact us today for a consultation.