Gingival health in relation to clinical crown length: a case report
© Volchansky and Cleaton-Jones; licensee Cases Network Ltd. 2009
Received: 5 August 2009
Accepted: 18 August 2009
Published: 17 September 2009
Gingival margin position in relation to synthetic crowns and crown length could be etiological factors in gingival health.
A 27-year-old male presented with necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis with short clinical crowns suggestive of altered passive eruption. Three years after the initial diagnosis, he presented with crowns on the maxillary incisors. There were short clinical crowns and marked gingival inflammation.
Placement of the crown margin could be an etiological factor in gingival inflammation. Therefore, should the margin be subgingival, equigingival or supragingival?
A 27-year-old white South African male presented at a periodontal practice complaining of painful "gums" particularly in the anterior part of the mouth, and halitosis. His general health was satisfactory; he was a non-smoker and other than grinding his teeth was not aware of any etiological factors, such as mouth breathing, that could have contributed to his problems.
After examination a diagnosis of necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG) was made, based on the classical punched out papillae, combined with the patient's symptoms of pain and halitosis.
The synthetic crown margins were just apical to the gingival margin, a long way from the CEJ, on the convex facial surface of the clinical crowns, in a position conducive to trauma from "food impaction" and the accumulation of plaque, contributing to chronic inflammation .
Synthetic crown margin placement, clinical crown size/length, crown contour and biological width are important etiological factors in gingival and periodontal health.
Many years ago, a clinician had three options for crown margin placement; it could be supragingival, equigingival or subgingival . Newcomb  indicated that subgingival margins were associated with plaque accumulation and gingival inflammation. Twenty years later, Sorensen  stated that subgingival margins greatly increase the frequency of periodontal disease, and that surface roughness, marginal fit and crown contour, mediate plaque accumulation and influence gingival health. This has also been reported for posterior crowns where bleeding was greater with sub-gingival crown placement .
Esthetics versus health is also a consideration  since subgingival finish lines are not periodontally advantageous, although they are required in certain situations. Currently, new materials, as described by Kancyper and Koka , and restorations may be finished easily to provide a smooth, polished interface at the gingival margin, so that plaque accumulation may be less .
There is more concern now about the impingement of the biologic width [11, 12] which is the physiological dimension of the junctional epithelium and connective tissue attachment, also described as the combined connective tissue - epithelial attachment from the crest of the alveolar bone to the base of the gingival sulcus. There is a view that gingival inflammation is influenced by clinical crown size and the pseudo pocket of APE .
Spear and Coonen  described a patient with a short clinical crown having an altered eruptive pattern and a sulcus depth of more than 3 mm. In such an instance a clinician must evaluate if a gingivectomy could be performed to lengthen the teeth and create a 1.5 mm sulcus.
As with coronally placed gingival margins the facial and lingual enamel bulges (crown contour) of human teeth protect the free gingival margin from the trauma of occlusion by deflecting food over the gingival crevice and onto keratinized gingival tissue [14, 15].
Even with new technology the position of a synthetic crown is crucial to gingival health. Therefore, is it not time to revisit the questions?
should the crown margin be subgingival, equigingival or supragingival?
how significant is clinical crown length and contour?
is the biological width sacrosanct?
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