There needs to be enough tooth enamel available above the gum line for your dentist to place a crown or a large filling. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough available for the crown to be properly seated and cemented into place.

When this happens, your dentist might recommend that you receive a crown-lengthening treatment. This is an outpatient surgery performed by a periodontist. Before the procedure, they will need to take X-rays to determine the extensity of the treatment.

In most cases, you can remain awake during the appointment and your periodontist will simply numb the area with a local anesthetic.

Sometimes the periodontist will only need to remove a small amount of gum tissue. In other cases, he may need to take additional soft tissue or bone from the area to expose enough enamel to mount the crown.

After the procedure, you will most likely be given a prescription for painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication. While the gum tissue is healing, you will need to stick to a diet of soft foods. Tobacco use can also irritate the gum tissues, causing them to take longer to heal or potentially causing infection.

Your periodontist will usually schedule a follow-up appointment for a week or so later when the stitches will be removed.