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Crown Lengthening in Lake Forest, CA


When the word "crown" is mentioned in dentistry, it is often associated with a cap placed over a damaged tooth to protect and restore it.

However, in the field of dentistry, "crown" holds another meaning as well. In general, "crown" refers to any part of the tooth structure that is above the gumline. It can denote the visible portion of the tooth above the gums, a protective cap on a damaged tooth, or even the artificial tooth attached to a titanium dental implant.

Crown lengthening is an oral surgery procedure that may be performed by a dentist or a specialist such as an oral surgeon or periodontist (a dentist specializing in gum disease treatment). The necessity for crown lengthening arises based on the individual's dental condition, and it may be required for one or several teeth, depending on the subsequent tooth repairs or replacements. The procedure is typically performed in the dental office, as it is relatively simple. For your comfort during the procedure, local anesthesia will be administered to ensure that you do not experience any pain or discomfort. If you experience dental anxiety, the possibility of using dental sedation can also be discussed to help you relax.

What is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is a dental procedure that entails the careful removal of gum tissue and/or bone to reveal a greater portion of the tooth's natural structure located above the gumline. This procedure is typically performed to facilitate tooth repairs. When a tooth is broken off at the gum line due to an accident or tooth decay, crown lengthening becomes necessary before any additional dental work can take place. Insufficient tooth structure above the gums makes it impossible to securely attach an artificial crown or filling. Attempting to place a crown on a limited foundation would lead to a restoration that is ill-fitting and uncomfortable. This would raise the risk of irritation, chronic inflammation, and additional tooth decay or damage. Therefore, the removal of surrounding tissue and ensuring proper seating of the crown are essential steps to achieve a successful outcome.

Procedure Overview:

The crown lengthening procedure begins by gaining access to the tooth's structure. The dentist will create small incisions in the gum tissue to gently pull it away from the tooth, allowing visibility of the tooth root and underlying bone. In many cases, a small amount of bone may also need to be removed along with the gum tissue. After reshaping the bone, the area is thoroughly cleansed, and the gums are sutured back together. It's important to note that during the procedure, the area will be completely numb, ensuring you won't experience any discomfort.

Crown lengthening is classified as a minor surgical procedure, and patients typically experience minimal discomfort during the recovery phase. However, everyone's pain tolerance varies, and to ensure your comfort, appropriate pain management medication will be recommended or prescribed after the crown lengthening. You will also receive detailed instructions for at-home care to facilitate proper and comfortable healing of the incisions, including guidance on cleaning the area and brushing your teeth.

After approximately one week, you will return to the dental office for suture removal and a follow-up to assess the healing progress. After your gums have completely healed, we will schedule an appointment for the placement of your permanent dental crown.

Reasons for Crown Lengthening:

Crown lengthening is performed for various reasons, including:

  • Restoring a broken or fractured tooth: If a tooth breaks at or below the gum line, crown lengthening is necessary to expose more tooth structure for successful restoration.
  • Resolving a "gummy smile": Excessive gum tissue can make teeth appear shorter than they are. Crown lengthening adjusts the gum line to reveal more of the tooth surface, enhancing the overall smile.
  • Preparing for dental restorations: Crown lengthening creates space between the tooth and the gums, ensuring adequate room for the placement of dental crowns or bridges.
  • Treating gum disease: Crown lengthening allows for better access to the tooth root and surrounding areas, facilitating effective removal of bacteria and tartar during gum disease treatment.

Benefits of Crown Lengthening:

Crown lengthening offers several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced aesthetics: By exposing more of the tooth structure, crown lengthening can improve the appearance of the smile, creating a harmonious balance between the teeth and gums.
  • Improved oral health: Crown lengthening helps in maintaining proper oral hygiene by facilitating easier access for cleaning around the tooth and preventing future gum infections.
  • Successful dental restorations: With sufficient tooth structure available above the gum line, dental crowns or bridges can be securely placed, ensuring a durable and comfortable restoration.
  • Long-term stability: Crown lengthening promotes a stable and healthy foundation for dental restorations, reducing the risk of complications and improving their longevity.

Recovery and Aftercare:

After undergoing crown lengthening, it is important to follow proper aftercare instructions to ensure optimal healing and minimize discomfort. These may include:

  • Medications: Taking prescribed pain relievers and antibiotics as directed to manage any post-operative pain and prevent infection.
  • Oral hygiene: Following specific instructions on how to clean the treated area and maintain oral hygiene without causing any damage or disruption to the healing process.
  • Diet: Adhering to a soft-food diet initially to avoid unnecessary pressure on the treated area and gradually reintroducing regular foods as healing progresses.
  • Avoiding certain habits: Refraining from smoking, using straws, or participating in activities that could disrupt the healing process or cause damage to the treated area.
  • Follow-up appointments: Attending scheduled follow-up visits to monitor the healing progress and ensure optimal results.


Crown lengthening is a vital procedure in restorative dentistry, enabling the successful repair and restoration of damaged teeth. By exposing more tooth structure, it allows for the proper placement of dental crowns or bridges, while also improving the overall aesthetics of the smile. The procedure itself is relatively straightforward, with minimal discomfort reported during the recovery period. Following the recommended aftercare instructions is essential for ensuring proper healing and achieving long-term oral health benefits. If you have any concerns or questions regarding crown lengthening, consult with your dentist or a dental specialist to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs.

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