Have you ever noticed a red ring in the gums around a crown when someone smiles? Ever wonder why? Have you been told to brush better to make it go away? Wonder why that does not work very well? Here is a story that explains some of the cause of the red “Ring around the Crown.”

The biology around a tooth is unique in that it is the only place on the body that has a piece of hard tissue poking through the skin (the tooth). Because of this, it is important to protect the health of the surrounding tissue (gums) when putting a crown on the tooth. The “margin” of the crown is what we call the edge of the crown that meets the tooth where the tooth was prepared to accept the new crown. The margin has to be placed in such a way that it does not intrude on the gums and if it does too much, inflammation will be the result and there you go: “Ring around the Crown!”

The body requires a specific amount of gums covering the bone where the tooth pokes through and when this specific amount of gum is encroached upon there will be some amount of inflammation as a result, the degree of which depends on the depth of the margin below the gum line. This specific amount of gum is called the “biologic width.” No amount of brushing will cure the red line around a crown that violates this biologic width.

The good news is that this “Ring around the Crown” is correctable. Treatment for this condition is specific depending on each person’s situation and often requires delicate manipulation of tissues and other times replacement of the crown in question. If your smile has ‘Ring-around-the-Crown’ you might want to find a dentist experienced in this treatment to correct it.