Biologic Width

Biologic width is defined as the naturally occurring distance between a person’s connective tissue and a tooth’s epithelial attachments. It’s simply a measurement of their combined length. Typically, the biologic width is only a couple millimeters, but it varies based on each patient of their dental structure.

Biologic width is simple, but it’s an extremely important aspect of the oral structure to consider. If the width is too long or too short, several problems may arise. If the width is too short, too much of the tooth will be exposed, leaving it susceptible to infection. If the width is too long, however, it makes certain dental procedure difficult to perform.

Gummy Smile

Crown Lengthening

When the biologic width is too long, there isn’t enough tooth exposed on top of a person’s gum line to sufficiently hold a crown or filling. This may occur if a tooth is broken beneath the gum line, but can also occur naturally. Some patients may opt for a crown lengthening for cosmetic reasons if their width is long enough to create a ‘gummy smile’. Lengthening the width will show the teeth more, creating a more pleasant smile.

To prepare for crown lengthening the patient must undergo anesthesia. Your dentist will make cuts to move the gums away from your teeth. Often, they will need to remove unnecessary bone around from the roots, as well. They will then sterilize the area and stitch the gums back together at a lower point. One or two weeks after the surgery, the stitches will have to be removed. Beyond that, the recovery period consists of taking aspirin and sticking to soft foods for several days.

Biologic Width and Root Canal Therapy

If you’re looking to undergo root canal therapy in Houston, your biologic width is quite important. Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures that require a crown lengthening. Root canal therapy requires a filling or crown to be placed on the affected tooth, so when there isn’t enough tooth to place the crown the additional procedure is necessary.

A crown lengthening and root canal can be completed at the same time. Since the recovery period for a crown lengthening is so mild, it won’t significantly alter the recovery period of a typical root canal therapy procedure. This recovery period may last for several weeks, with your dentist providing specific instructions.

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