My Teeth are Too Short!

Dr. Lee Sheldon

Did you ever see someone with a gummy smile?  Did you ever have a crown that kept coming off?  How are the two related? The teeth are too short.

Let’s look first at the upper front tooth. It should be longer than it is wide. If you have short, squat front teeth where the teeth are wider than they are tall, you may have a problem of excess bone creating the illusion that you have a short tooth. Actually, nearly every tooth has the correct anatomical length. The problem with a short front tooth is too much bone creating too much gum tissue which then creates a short tooth or teeth.

That problem can be remedied by a rather simple periodontal surgery procedure, where the bone and gum are resculpted to the correct shape, thus resulting in a tooth with the correct shape. Your smile is recovered.

What about a crown that falls off all the time?  It is the same problem and is usually found in back teeth. The decay ate away too much tooth structure. There is only a small amount of tooth structure remaining above the gum line.  If you have a crown on a short tooth, even with the best cement, there will not be enough tooth structure supporting the crown. The crown falls off.

What’s the solution? It is the same as the gummy smile solution. A minor surgical procedure to remove some of the bone support will create a longer tooth which is much less likely to lose its crown.  

What is the name for the procedure? It is a “crown lengthening” procedure. Periodontists do this procedure on a regular basis resulting in a nicer esthetic result as well as stable crowns that stay put.