Some dental procedures require that the dentist get access to the roots of a tooth. If the tooth has broken off near the gum line, for instance, the only way a crown can be added is to get access to the tooth roots. This will enable the crown to be fastened more securely. The process of removing the gum tissue and possibly bone to get access is called crown lengthening.

Attaching Crowns

Removing gum and bone tissue enables more of the tooth to be viewed by the dentist. When attaching a crown, there needs to be enough of the tooth left to anchor it solidly to it. If the tooth has broken off or has a lot of decay in it, the dentist will have to expose more of the tooth to be sure that the crown will stay in position.

The Procedure

The crown lengthening procedure is usually done by a periodontist who will only need to give local anesthesia – or you may be given sleep sedation if preferred. Once it has taken effect, the gums will be cut and pulled away from the tooth. Depending on how low the dentist plans to go, the tooth roots and bone may also need to be exposed. This will enable the dentist to shave some of the bone to ensure a better appearance. Any decay in the tooth will be removed.

Once this step is complete, the periodontist will sterilize the area. The gums will then be stitched back together, and a temporary crown attached. If the tooth already has a temporary crown on it, it will be removed until the procedure is completed, then reattached.

The whole procedure usually takes less than an hour. The gums and bone around neighboring teeth will not be touched.

Help for a Gummy Smile

People that have an excess of gum tissue, particularly on their upper teeth, can have some of the gum tissue removed in a procedure called a gingivectomy. This lets more of their teeth become visible, giving them a more attractive smile. This procedure can also be performed when the gum tissue is not even. When this type of surgery is needed, a laser is an excellent tool for trimming the gums because it will prevent bleeding.


Once the surgery is complete, you may expect some swelling and pain in the area. You can place ice packs on your cheek over the site and it will help to reduce the swelling. Over-the-counter pain medication will be all that is needed to take care of the pain. You can expect that it will take up to two weeks for the gums to heal. There will be a waiting period of 4-6 weeks before you can get the permanent crown put in place.

The friendly dentists at Bright White Dental performs crown lengthening for patients who need it. This process lets us restore your smile and give you one that lets you smile with confidence. We also provide many dental services for patients of all ages.