Crown Lengthening Brings Symmetry and Contour to a Smile


Crown lengthening, also known as gum contouring, can be performed to improve the aesthetics of a gummy smile by altering the gum line so it is less prominent. Natural teeth should be slightly taller than they are wide. If you notice that your teeth are more square than they should be, you may be a candidate for crown lengthening. Dr. Brian J Polidori can perform this procedure at our Lakewood, CO, office by removing small amounts of gum tissue to expose more of the tooth crown. Crown lengthening is often performed in conjunction with new restorations, such as dental crowns or porcelain veneers.

When is Crown Lengthening Necessary?

Crown lengthening may be necessary in a variety of situations, serving both aesthetic and functional needs. Aesthetic crown lengthening is performed primarily for cosmetic purposes with the intent of bringing symmetry and contour to your smile. This produces a beautifully balanced smile. Functional crown lengthening is often performed in order to expose more of the tooth structure so a dental crown or veneer can be placed. This procedure ensures there is adequate space between the gum tissue and the new crown, establishing an optimal fit.

A graphic showing a before and after illustration of crown lengthening.

Crown lengthening, or gum contouring, can improve the aesthetics of a gummy smile by altering the gum line so it is less prominent.

What to Expect during a Crown Lengthening Procedure

When you have your crown lengthening procedure at Colorado Premier Dental, you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality of care. Crown lengthening is typically performed in five steps:

  • Anesthesia: Local anesthesia will be administered to numb your gum tissue. Sedation may be administered as well, depending on Dr. Polidori’s recommendation. You can discuss your sedation options with Dr. Polidori at your initial consultation.
  • Incisions: A small series of incisions will be made, and the gums will be gently separated from the teeth in order to access the gum tissue underneath. 
  • Tissue Removal: The appropriate amount of gum tissue will be removed. Oftentimes, small amounts of bone tissue must also be removed to ensure the extra gum tissue does not grow back after surgery.
  • Stitches: Stitches will be placed. Typically, dissolvable sutures are used; however, Dr. Polidori will inform you if traditional sutures are used, requiring you to return to our office to have them removed.
  • Periodontal Dressing: A dressing may be applied to protect the surgical area during healing. It will likely come off on its own during the first few days. If it is still present at your follow up appointment, we will remove it.

When you have your crown lengthening procedure at Colorado Premier Dental, you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality of care.

Recovery After Crown Lengthening

You will be given detailed post-operative instructions following your procedure. These instructions will include things you can do to ensure a speedy recovery, such as:

  • Ice: Apply a cold compress to the outer jaw for 15- to 20-minute increments during the first 24 hours.
  • Heat: Warm compresses, such as a warm washcloth, can be applied to the outer jaw on day two and three.
  • Diet: Stock your pantry with soft, nutritious foods.
  • Medications: Take over-the-counter and prescribed painkillers as directed by Dr. Polidori.
  • Elevation: Keep your head elevated to minimize bleeding and swelling.
  • Rinse: A mouthwash will be given or prescribed for use after your procedure. Gently swishing with the rinse will help keep the surgical site clean and healthy while it is healing.
  • Rest: It is important to relax following periodontal surgery. Too much physical activity can result in additional bleeding

Learn More About Crown Lengthening

To find out if crown lengthening can benefit your oral health, call our office at (303) 935-3465. You can also contact us online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Polidori or to speak to a member of our staff.