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Crown Lengthening Surgery

Does your gumline look uneven or do your teeth look short? Or do you need a tooth fixed but your gums cover too much of the crown? A type of gum surgery called crown lengthening can recede or even out the gumline. The surgery may be done for functional or cosmetic reasons. It can be done if more tooth structure needs to be exposed for the tooth to be restored. The surgery exposes more of the crown. This is the head of the tooth you can see above the gum line.

How crown lengthening works

Surgery to expose more of the crown includes:

  • Functional lengthening. In some cases, decay or a fracture goes below the gum line and a restoration (crown) is needed. Gum and bone are removed to expose enough tooth to anchor the new crown. This also helps prevent future damage to gum and bone near the restoration.

  • Cosmetic lengthening. This is done to correct an uneven gum line or remove an overgrowth of gum and, in some cases, bone tissue that causes a “gummy” smile. It can improve your appearance and may make teeth easier to keep clean.

    Crown being placed on shaped tooth. Dotted line shows new gumline.
    Functional crown lengthening: This corrects the gum and bone level by allowing the tooth to be exposed more, so the tooth can be restored.
    Dotted line showing where gum tissue will be removed above tooth.
    Cosmetic crown lengthening: Removing or reshaping gum and bone tissue can help improve your smile by exposing more of the natural tooth, or by evening out your gumline to create a less "gummy" smile.

Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Kapner MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2020
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