Catalog Number:

Duration: 1 hour, 6 minutes, 50 seconds

Author: Dr. James Kohner

Functional Crown Lengthening for More Predictable Restorative

Functional Crown Lengthening for More Predictable Restorative


In this article, we will explore the concept of functional crown lengthening and its role in enhancing restorative dentistry. As a periodontist, I am passionate about sharing periodontal ideas that can improve patient outcomes and ensure long-lasting restorations. To illustrate the importance of this technique, I will present a case study involving a patient with a bridge that repeatedly came off, highlighting the need to address design issues in restorations. The goal here is not just to make the process of restorative dentistry faster or easier, but also more effective and predictable. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Functional Crown Lengthening

The Concept

Functional crown lengthening, often referred to as “gum shortening,” is a periodontal procedure that involves reshaping and recontouring the gum tissue to expose more of the tooth surface. This technique can be beneficial in cases where there is insufficient tooth structure available for successful restoration.

The Benefits

Gum shortening can provide numerous advantages both for the patients and the dentists. By exposing more tooth structure, it allows for better retention of restorations such as crowns or bridges. This not only improves the stability of the restorations but also reduces the risk of them coming off repeatedly.

Less Stress

One major advantage of functional crown lengthening is the reduction of stress on the restored tooth. With more tooth structure exposed, the load is distributed more evenly, minimizing the strain on the restoration during biting and chewing.

Predictable Results

By ensuring adequate tooth structure for restoration, functional crown lengthening can significantly enhance the predictability of treatment outcomes. It provides the necessary space for proper fit and ensures a solid foundation for the restoration, reducing the likelihood of postoperative complications.

Happier Patients

Patients who undergo functional crown lengthening often experience greater satisfaction with their restorations. The improved stability and aesthetics contribute to enhanced confidence and overall oral well-being. Happy patients are more likely to refer others to their dentist, leading to increased practice growth.

Avoiding Legal Trouble

From a legal standpoint, functional crown lengthening can play a significant role in protecting dentists from potential malpractice claims. When restorations fail repeatedly, patients may seek legal action, claiming inadequate treatment. By addressing the underlying issues through gum shortening, dentists can demonstrate diligence and take preventive measures against litigation.

The Case Study: Bridge Failure

Let’s consider a real-life case to better understand the implications of functional crown lengthening. A patient came to our clinic with a bridge that had come off multiple times, causing frustration and discomfort. Upon evaluation, we discovered that the bridge’s design did not account for the lack of adequate tooth structure. The supporting tooth had minimal exposed surface area, thus compromising the stability of the restoration.

In this scenario, functional crown lengthening proved to be the most suitable solution. By performing gum shortening on the supporting tooth, we were able to expose more tooth structure, ensuring proper retention of the bridge. The procedure not only resolved the immediate issue but also provided a long-term solution by creating a stable foundation for the restoration.


Functional crown lengthening offers an effective and predictable way to enhance restorative dentistry outcomes. By reshaping and recontouring the gum tissue, dentists can expose more tooth structure, leading to improved stability, patient satisfaction, and legal protection. Understanding the benefits and incorporating this technique into practice can elevate the quality of restorations and contribute to the overall success of dental treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is functional crown lengthening a painful procedure?

No, functional crown lengthening is typically performed under local anesthesia, ensuring a painless experience for the patient. Additionally, modern techniques and medications help minimize discomfort during and after the procedure.

2. How long does it take for gums to heal after functional crown lengthening?

The healing time varies for each individual, but it generally takes around one to two weeks for the gums to fully heal after functional crown lengthening. Your dentist will provide you with post-operative instructions to promote optimal healing.

3. Can any dentist perform functional crown lengthening?

Functional crown lengthening is a specialized procedure often performed by periodontists who have advanced training in periodontal treatments. It is recommended to consult with a specialist who can properly assess your case and determine the most suitable course of treatment.

4. Will I need to undergo functional crown lengthening for every dental restoration?

No, not every dental restoration requires functional crown lengthening. The need for this procedure depends on the individual case and the amount of tooth structure available for successful restoration. Your dentist will evaluate your specific situation and recommend the appropriate treatment plan.

5. Can functional crown lengthening improve the appearance of my smile?

Yes, functional crown lengthening can have aesthetic benefits by exposing more of the tooth structure. This can help improve the overall appearance of your smile, especially in cases where the teeth appear short or disproportionate. Consult with your dentist to discuss your cosmetic concerns and determine if functional crown lengthening is suitable for you.

Add comment