When a tooth must be restored with a filling or a crown due to decay or fracture, but there isn't enough tooth structure to work with above the gum line, a procedure called crown lengthening is recommended. It can be done for a single tooth or multiple teeth at the same time.
Crown lengthening usually requires some gum and underlying bone to be removed in order to provide an adequate amount of tooth structure to safely and securely restore, as well as providing adequate distance between the bone and whatever material is being used to fix the tooth. This distance, called Biologic Width, is the safe distance required to avoid the irritation and inflammation caused by any foreign material that comes too close to the bone.
Your experienced periodontist at Voyageur Dental will begin this procedure by thoroughly numbing the site. After some precise but minor incisions, the surgeon will temporarily lift the gum tissue away from the tooth, then remove a specific amount of height of bone from around the circumference of the tooth. The flap is then neatly stitched back into place. The stitches will be removed in 7-10 days.
This same procedure may be used for cosmetic purposes if the patient has a gummy smile, which is an appearance of excess gum tissue around or above their upper teeth.