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Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure performed by a dentist to expose a greater height of tooth structure in order to properly restore the tooth prosthetically. This is done by incising the gingival tissue around a tooth and predictably removing a given height of alveolar bone from the circumference of the tooth or teeth being operated on. While a general dentist may perform this procedure, he or she may refer the procedure to be performed by a periodontist or an oral surgeon.
Biologic width is the distance established by "the junctional epithelium and connective tissue attachment to the root surface" of a tooth. This distance is important to consider when fabricating dental restorations, because they must respect the natural architecture of the gingival attachment if harmful consequences are to be avoided.
This distance is approximately 2 mm, with roughly 1 mm being occupied by the connective tissue attachment and another approximate 1 mm being occupied by the junctional epithelium. Because it is impossible to perfectly restore a tooth to the precise coronal edge of the junctional epithelium, the roughly 1 mm depth of the sulcus is often included together with the biologic width when leaving a certain amount of tooth structure remaining, thus establishing a margin of safety. When restorations do not take these considerations into account and violate biologic width, three things tend to occur:
In addition to removing 2 mm of bone to establish a proper biologic width, another 2 mm should be removed to reveal enough tooth structure to allow for a 2 mm ferrule. A ferrule, in respect to teeth, is a band that encircles the external dimension of residual tooth structure, not unlike the metal bands that exist around a barrel. Sufficient vertical height of tooth structure that will be grasped by the future crown is necessary to allow for a ferrule effect of the future prosthetic crown; it has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of fracture in the endodontically treated tooth. Because beveled tooth structure is not parallel to the vertical axis of the tooth, it does not properly contribute to ferrule height; thus, a desire to bevel the crown margin by 1 mm would require an additional 1 mm of bone removal in the crown lengthening procedure.
Some recent studies suggest that, while ferrule is certainly desirable, it should not be provided at the expense of the remaining tooth/root structure. On the other hand, it has also been shown that the "difference between an effective, long-term restoration and a failure can be as small as 1 mm of additional tooth structure that, when encased by a ferrule, provides great protection. When such a long-lasting, functional restoration cannot be predictably created, tooth extraction should be considered."
The alveolar bone surrounding one tooth will naturally surround an adjacent tooth, and that removing bone for a crown lengthening procedure will effectively damage adjacent teeth to some inevitable extent, as well as unfavorably increase the crown-to-root ratio. Additionally, once bone is removed, it is almost impossible to regain it to previous levels, and in case a patient would like to have an implant placed in the future, there might not be enough bone in the region once a crown lengthening procedure has been completed. Thusly, it would be prudent for patients to thoroughly discuss all of their treatment planning options with their dentist before undergoing an irreversible procedure such as crown lengthening.
Similarly, if the tooth, because of its relative lack of solid tooth structure, also requires a post and core, and thus, endodontic treatment, the total combined time, effort and cost of the various procedures, together with the decreased prognosis because of the combined inherent failure rates of each procedure, might make it more reasonable to have the tooth extracted and elect to have an implant placed.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Crown_lengthening". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|