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Duration: 1 hour, 6 minutes, 50 seconds

Author: Dr. James Kohner

Functional Crown Lengthening for More Predictable Restorative


In this article, we will explore the concept of functional crown lengthening and how it can enhance restorative dentistry. As a periodontist, I will provide insights and ideas for dentists looking to improve their treatment outcomes. One crucial aspect that we will discuss is the importance of using the term “gum shortening” instead of “crown lengthening” when communicating with patients.

Why Gum Shortening Matters

When explaining the crown lengthening procedure to patients, it is crucial to use the term “gum shortening” instead. This simple change in language helps patients better understand the purpose of the procedure and reduces any anxiety they may have. By framing it as gum shortening, patients perceive it as a cosmetic improvement rather than an invasive procedure.

Functional and Mechanical Issues

Now let’s delve into the functional and mechanical issues that are deeply connected to crown lengthening. One significant benefit is the reduction of stress placed on the tooth by the shortened gums. This stress reduction can lead to increased longevity of restorations, ensuring the patient’s investment in their oral health is protected.

Improved Impression Predictability

Additionally, gum shortening plays a crucial role in achieving more predictable impressions. By exposing an adequate amount of tooth structure, impressions can be more accurate and detailed. This allows for better-fitting restorations and avoids the need for adjustments or remakes, ultimately leading to happier patients.

The Legal Aspect

Another vital point to consider is the legal implications of not performing gum shortening when necessary. Failure to address excessive gingival display or gum asymmetry can lead to dissatisfaction and potential legal trouble. By proactively offering gum shortening, dentists can avoid such situations and ensure a smoother experience for both the patient and themselves.

Why Patients Should Opt for Gum Shortening

Gum shortening is not only crucial for enhancing restorative dentistry but also offers several benefits to the patients. Let’s take a closer look at what patients can expect:

Improved Esthetics

By reducing excessive gum display, patients achieve a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing smile. Gum shortening helps create harmonic proportions between the teeth and gums, enhancing the overall appearance of the smile.

Boost in Confidence

Many patients feel self-conscious about their gummy smile, which can negatively impact their self-esteem. By opting for gum shortening, patients often experience a significant boost in confidence as they gain a smile they can proudly show off.

Painless Procedure

Contrary to common misconceptions, gum shortening is a relatively painless procedure. Modern advancements in dental technology and anesthesia techniques ensure that patients are comfortable throughout the process.

The Role of the Dentist

As a dentist, it is essential to recognize the potential benefits gum shortening can offer both the patient and your practice. By implementing this procedure, you can provide more comprehensive care that prioritizes the patient’s overall satisfaction and long-term oral health.

Best Practices for Communication

When discussing gum shortening with patients, it is crucial to use a conversational tone and avoid using complex dental jargon. Explain the procedure thoroughly, addressing any concerns the patient may have. Utilize visual aids such as diagrams and before-and-after photos to help patients visualize the potential outcomes.

Collaboration with a Periodontist

Collaborating with a periodontist can be highly beneficial when it comes to implementing gum shortening in your practice. They can provide specialized expertise and support, ensuring optimal results for your patients.


In conclusion, functional crown lengthening, or gum shortening, is a valuable technique that enhances restorative dentistry outcomes. By using patient-friendly language and addressing functional and mechanical issues, dentists can provide more predictable impressions, reduce stress on teeth, and achieve greater patient satisfaction. Remember, by proactively offering gum shortening, dentists can not only improve results but also avoid potential legal troubles. Embrace this technique and provide your patients with exceptional care, boosting their confidence and overall oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is gum shortening an invasive procedure?

No, gum shortening is a minimally invasive procedure. With the use of modern dental technology and anesthesia techniques, patients experience minimal discomfort during and after the procedure.

2. How long does the recovery take after gum shortening?

The recovery period varies from patient to patient. Generally, patients can expect some mild discomfort and swelling for a few days. However, with proper post-operative care, most patients resume their normal activities within a week.

3. Can gum shortening improve my smile?

Yes, gum shortening can significantly enhance the appearance of your smile. By reducing excessive gum display, the teeth appear longer, creating a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing smile.

4. Will my insurance cover the cost of gum shortening?

Insurance coverage for gum shortening varies depending on your specific dental insurance policy. It is best to consult with your insurance provider or dentist to determine your coverage options.

5. Are there any risks associated with gum shortening?

As with any dental procedure, there are some risks involved. However, when performed by a qualified dental professional, such as a periodontist, gum shortening is considered safe and effective. It is essential to follow all post-operative instructions provided by your dentist to minimize any potential risks.

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