Root and Crown: The Three Main Purposes of Crown Lengthening Explained

Like a tree, a tooth is composed of two portions: the part above the gum line and the part below the gum line. And, interestingly, the upper and lower portions of trees and teeth are called exactly the same thing: roots and crowns. But unlike with trees, a dentist can lengthen a tooth's crown when the need arises.

But why would you want to make the upper portion of a tooth longer? There are three main reasons.

1. To Correct a Gummy Smile

Some dental patients have what dentists refer to as a 'gummy smile'. This means that their gums cover a little too much of their teeth. As a result, when they smile, their teeth appear smaller. Moreover, more of their gum tissue shows when they smile.

If you have a gummy smile, a dentist can lengthen the upper portion of the affected teeth by removing some of the gum tissue covering them. They may also need to remove some of the bone if necessary. However, the end result will be that your teeth appear longer, and your gums no longer show as much when you smile.

2. To Repair Damage Below the Gum Line

Tooth decay doesn't always occur above the gum line. Sometimes, tooth decay starts at the gum line and extends below it, attacking the root of the tooth. The only way to access tooth decay below the gum line is to remove the gum tissue covering the damaged portion of the tooth. The dentist can then remove the decay and place a filling or dental crown to repair the damage.

Likewise, if a tooth has fractured below the gum line due to trauma, a dentist may need to remove gum tissue and bone in order to access the damaged area.

3. To Create More Room for Crown Placement

Did you know that even severely damaged teeth that have lost most of their structure can still be repaired? Even if only a small portion of the crown remains, if there is sufficient tooth structure below the gum line, a dentist can reveal that tooth structure by carrying out the crown lengthening procedure to remove gum and bone tissue.

Once they have exposed more of the damaged tooth, they can then place a dental crown. In this case, crown lengthening can save a tooth that you would otherwise lose.

Do you think that crown lengthening might help with your dental issues? Then ask your dentist about the procedure. Crown lengthening can give you the confidence to smile without worrying about how your teeth look.