Dental crowns are commonly used in dentistry. They fix teeth that have anything from small problems to root canals. But they’re not always easy to apply.

If you have a tooth that’s been giving you trouble and your dentist says you need a dental crown lengthening, what does that involve?

Understanding dental crowns

First we need to take a quick look at the situations where you’d use a crown to fix a tooth.

Crowns can be used to protect a tooth from decay or weakening, as well as cover a misshapen or discolored tooth. In these cases the structure of the tooth is largely intact, but the crown will provide either an extra layer of structural stability or a cosmetic cover up.

They can also be used to repair a tooth that’s cracked or has a cavity too large for filling. In these cases the tooth’s structure won’t be enough to hold it together under the strain of everyday life, so the crown will provide an “exoskeleton” that keeps it from becoming a bigger problem. Crowns also cover teeth that have had a root canal procedure, keeping the interior from decay.

Dental bridges and dental implants may also necessitate a crown. The crown provides the support that they need to stay in place, even though the underlying tooth may not need support.

But the situation you’re looking at if you’re getting a dental crown lengthening is usually a broken tooth.

Broken teeth and crown lengthening

A crown is designed to glue on to the stub of a tooth that’s already there. But if the tooth breaks off too far down, the crown doesn’t have anything to connect to. A crown needs a certain percentage of surface area to connect to. Think of any time you’ve tried to repair something with glue—if you don’t have enough surface area to connect the two pieces together, the repair won’t hold. The same applies to your teeth.

If your tooth is too short, your dentist will artificially “lengthen” it by pulling the gum tissue back and removing some of the bone around the tooth. This gives the crown something it can grip so that it won’t fall off under stress.

Placing crowns is a common procedure your dentist will perform, but you want to make sure it’s done right so the crown doesn’t come loose. Our practice will make sure you get the care you deserve. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you.