Tooth reshaping, also called dental contouring, is a cosmetic dentistry technique that removes small amounts of tooth enamel (the outer covering of the tooth) in order to change the shape, length, or surface of one or more teeth. The procedure is usually done to correct crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth or even overlapping teeth. This procedure is even a substitute for braces under certain circumstances. This is also a procedure of subtle changes. A few millimeters of reduction and a few millimeters of tooth-colored laminate can create a beautiful smile when performed by a cosmetic dentist, with no discomfort to you.
Who is a candidate for tooth contouring and reshaping?
If you want your teeth to be free of chips and fractures, appear less crowded, and have decreased overlaps or to be without pits or grooves in the enamel, this procedure should be discussed with your cosmetic dentist. With a little dental contouring, you can make a huge difference in the way you feel about your smile. Tooth contouring by a cosmetic dentist does require that you have normal, healthy teeth. Teeth may become weaker if large amounts of enamel are removed, which is why tooth reshaping should be limited to minor changes or combined with veneers or bonding for the best smile.
How is teeth contouring done?
To reshape or contour teeth, a dentist gently removes tooth enamel with a laser or drill. Before starting the treatment, the dentist X-rays the teeth to evaluate the size and location of the pulp of each tooth to ensure that there’s enough bone between the teeth to support them. Next, they trim misshapen areas, shortening excessively long teeth or altering badly shaped teeth to even them out for proper bite and alignment. The teeth are then smoothed and polished. Reshaping may require just one 30-minute appointment with the dentist, depending on the extent of the work you need.
What is bonding and why is done with teeth reshaping?
Combining bonding with reshaping can fill in chips and gaps between teeth, add shape and improve tooth color. Bonding involves applying a puttylike resin, which adheres to the teeth and hardens. The resin is colored to provide the best result, either to match or improve the natural tooth color. Before applying the resin, the dentist etches the tooth surface with a Dremel-like tool so that the resin adheres well. This can cause some sensitivity, so the dentist may numb the tooth area. He or she may also paint the teeth with a conditioning liquid, which also helps the resin stick to the teeth. After applying the resin and shaping it, a light is shined against it for hardening. Bonding takes 30 minutes to an hour, and if more than one tooth is being treated, the patient may need several appointments.