What Is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening is not a familiar term for most people since it is recommended only occasionally. However, in cases where it is advised, the results can create a positive change when it comes to a smile’s health and appearance.

Crown lengthening is a procedure that repositions the gums or removes excess gum tissues. In the majority of cases, it is performed to enhance the appearance of a smile.

Crown lengthening is the technique used to correct an uneven smile line, which is the slight arch of gum tissues over teeth. When the gum tissues that frames a tooth don’t match that of neighboring teeth, it creates an up-&-down imbalance that is obvious in a smile’s appearance.

By creating an unified frame of gum tissues over teeth, crown lengthening provides a more flattering smile.

Crown lengthening is also performed to repair a ‘gummy smile.’ A gummy smile is one that shows too much gum tissue above the teeth. Although this is a genetic trait and does not affect oral health, it causes some people to feel self-conscious when smiling. Katie Couric’s smile is one example of a gummy smile.

Example of Crown Lengthening To Correct Gummy Smile

In very mild cases, gum tissues can be removed without the need to crown teeth. However, crowns are often recommended so the gums can be recontoured to a more natural level.

Crown lengthening may also be advised for your oral health. For example, crown lengthening may be able to save a tooth that has broken near the gum line. Typically, a tooth that breaks at or below the gum line must be removed since there is not enough tooth structure for a crown.

However, when a tooth has broken off at the gum line (not below it), crown lengthening may be able to expose more of the tooth by removing gum tissues. This can provide sufficient tooth structure that can support a crown, preventing the need for removal while helping the patient avoid the subsequent costs of tooth replacement.


Crown lengthening may also be performed to help seal the gum tissues that surround a tooth at its base. When a new crown is placed, the gums surrounding its entry point require time to become securely attached. The procedure can help to secure gum tissue around the crown and prevent bacteria penetration that can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Crown lengthening, also known as a gingivectomy, is typically performed while the patient relaxes under oral sedation. There may be some swelling and tenderness for several days after, although discomfort is minimal. Most patients only need over-the-counter medications although prescription strength is made available if needed.

With each day after the procedure, there should be gradual improvement. Most patients feel ‘back to normal’ within several weeks. However, the beautiful results of crown lengthening are typically obvious in no time!

If reshaping your gum tissue could create a more attractive smile for you, crown lengthening may be what you need. Begin with a free consultation to discuss what is involved to create the healthy, attractive smile you desire. Call 219-987-5733 to schedule.