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Teeth Enamel Shaping • Tooth Contouring
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Teeth Enamel Shaping • Tooth Recontouring

Enamel shaping or recontouring is a cosmetic procedure also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, tooth contouring or simply teeth shaping. Enamel shaping is a dental cosmetic process of contouring natural teeth to improve their overall appearance, by removing small amounts of tooth enamel in order to change the length, shape or surface contours of a tooth.

What is teeth enamel shaping?

Enamel shaping is a quick, easy and economic way used by cosmetic dentists to correct many minor irregularities in the shape or texture of teeth. It may be used to correct the look of misshapen, oversized, rough, crooked, chipped or overlapping teeth. The cosmetic goal of a tooth contouring procedure is to correct problems in the aesthetic harmony and balance of the mouth and achieve a more attractive appearance.

Tooth contouring can provide a solution to:

  • correct uneven front teeth
  • correct small chips or surface flaws
  • round off pointed canine teeth
  • shorten teeth that appear too long (usual problem with canines)
  • correct minor overcrowding problems
  • adjust teeth to create a smile that follows the contour of the lower lip

Beside the cosmetic effects, enamel shaping can improve overall dental health by removing minor crevices (chips and other surface flaws) or overlaps (crowded teeth without enough interdental spaces) in which plaque or tartar can accumulate.

The enamel shaping procedure

During the enamel shaping treatment, the cosmetic dentist will use a sanding disk or fine diamond burs to remove small amounts (generally not more than 1 to 2 millimeters) of tooth enamel, where needed. When there are imperfections between teeth, he or she may use strips of sandpaper to shape and smooth the sides.

Once the teeth are reshaped properly, the dentist will polish the teeth. Because dental recontouring involves only the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth that has no nerves) without affecting the living part of the tooth (dental pulp), it usually can be done without anesthetic.

The procedure is quick and painless, usually completed in only one appointment and the results can be seen immediately.

Limitations of teeth shaping

Tooth contouring is not a substitute for dental veneers or tooth bonding. If teeth have substantial imperfections – such as a deep chip or fracture - recontouring probably won't be enough to correct the problem. Crowded teeth in most of the cases will need orthodontic braces, only minor problems can be treated by teeth shaping.

Since some amount tooth enamel has to be removed, the depth of the enamel layer and the relative position of the dental pulp chamber are critical factors for performing a tooth shaping procedure. X-rays are usually needed to get this information. If the tooth has a relatively thin layer of enamel, or if the dental pulp is too close to the surface, tooth recontouring may not be possible.

When tooth imperfections can't be eliminated only with recontouring, your dentist may combine the treatment with dental bonding or veneers. This allows for the teeth to be perfectly reshaped and achieve a flawless surface appearance.

Risks of enamel shaping

The enamel loss during teeth shaping is permanent and irreversible, so the dentist must have carefully discuss the effects of the re-contouring with the patient before the treatment. If the enamel shaping procedure is planned and performed properly, you should not expect any complications. However, the removal of tooth enamel makes its layer thinner, and in some cases the treated tooth may become sensitive. In-office application of fluoride gel or varnish and regular use of a toothpaste for sensitive teeth are recommended in these cases, after a tooth contouring treatment.

Teeth Shaping performed by an experienced cosmetic dentist may provide a significant improvement in the look of your smile.

If you want to improve your smile’s appearance you should first visit a cosmetic dentist for consultation. Cosmetic dentists have the expertise to analyze your cosmetic needs, and propose a complete plan of cosmetic dental procedures that will best fit your expectations and finances.

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