Periodontal disease is causes deep pockets underneath the gum tissue around the teeth. When pockets deepen, the bone around the tooth slowly goes away at the same time. Regular flossing can keep a healthy pocket clean, but deep pockets are inaccessible with floss, allowing the infection to worsen to the point that the stability of the tooth becomes a concern. Severe gum disease eventually leads to tooth mobility and the tooth can even fall out. In fact, gum disease causes more people to lose their teeth than any other dental condition (including tooth decay.)
When the pockets around the teeth become shallower, oral hygiene routines such as flossing are able to clean them efficiently. One of the ways to achieve a shallower pocket is by performing a procedure called crown lengthening. Crown lengthening removes diseased gum tissue and creates a new contour along the gumlines, exposing more tooth surface and making oral hygiene easier to complete each day.
Crown lengthening can be done either surgically or through soft tissue laser therapy. It is also sometimes used when teeth need to be restored but do not have enough visible tooth structure above the gumlines. The recovery will vary from patient to patient, depending on the method of treatment that is used.
If you’re serious about keeping your teeth as long as possible, but find it impossible to clean areas of moderate to severe gum disease, then crown lengthening may be an option for you. See your dentist for an exam and periodontal screening to discuss therapies such as crown lengthening in combination with other perio treatments to improve your risk of success.
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