The area around the teeth and under the detached gum tissue is referred to as a gingival pocket. When chronic gum disease and bone loss are present, these pockets harbor disease bacteria, further complicating the disease condition. In some cases the pocket is so deep that normal brushing and flossing is not even effective. This allows the condition to worsen, and can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Gum Disease Management
In order to reduce the depth of the pocket, crown lengthening may be performed. Simply put, crown lengthening is removing excess gum tissue from around the tooth, lengthening the appearance of the crown (the part that shows above the gums) and shortening the depth of the gingival pocket. This allows oral hygiene and disease management to be more efficient
As an Aesthetic Procedure
Crown lengthening is also sometimes referred to as gingival recontouring. Recontouring is typically used for aesthetic improvements to reduce the appearance of gummy smiles, or irregularly shaped, uneven gumlines. Sometimes lengthening is a necessary part of smile-makeovers to allow for optimal fabrication of dental porcelain veneers or crowns. It allows more tooth enamel to show, creating a beautiful, even smile. Recontouring is minimally invasive and a relatively short procedure which requires only a small amount of desensitizing to be performed.
In Restorative Therapy
Having enough tooth structure present is important in order to place restorative treatments such as crowns. If a tooth has broken down to the point where there is not enough crown structure left to restore, it may be appropriate to expose a portion of the tooth through crown lengthening. This allows crowns to have a stable foundation in order to withstand normal functions.
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