If you have minor dental imperfections or slightly overlapping or irregularly shaped teeth, excessively pointed cuspid tooth, you will need to see the dentist if you want them fixed. The procedure is called tooth reshaping which is also referred to sometimes as dental contouring. This cosmetic dental procedure deals with subtle changes to the teeth that could make a big difference in a person’s overall appearance and self-confidence.
Tooth reshaping removes small amount of tooth enamel – the outer covering of a tooth in order to modify the shape, length or surface of one or more imperfect teeth. With this procedure, even the slightest reshaping or smallest enamel reduction in the right places can really improve the appearance of teeth. Tooth reshaping is often performed alongside bonding – a cosmetic dental procedure that uses tooth-colored composite material to sculpt and shape the teeth.
Dental instruments and abrasion techniques are used in tooth reshaping. The dentist will need to take dental X-rays prior to the procedure in order to make sure that the teeth are healthy. The dentist will then highlight the teeth that need sculpting. To minimize the imperfections on the surface of the teeth, a sanding instrument is also used. Contouring the sides of the teeth is taken care of by using sand-paper-like strips. The final step will be smoothing and polishing the sculpted teeth.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Tooth Reshaping
While tooth reshaping is a more conservative way of making modifications on the appearance of your tooth, the dentist should weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure to determine if tooth reshaping is the suitable solution to your imperfect tooth.
- Inexpensive Procedure. Compared to other dental procedures, tooth reshaping is the most inexpensive way to improve the appearance of your teeth. The cost per tooth ranges from $50 to $300 but it also depends on how much work is needed to fix the problem. If the imperfection is caused by trauma or accident, insurance may pick up part of the cost.
- Painless Procedure. Tooth reshaping only involves working on the surface enamel of the tooth so it’s practically painless and causing no discomfort during the procedure. It does not require anesthesia.
- Improves Health of Teeth. When minor overlaps or other imperfections are removed, tartar that had accumulated in those areas will be removed as well, thus lowering the risk of decay and gum disease.
- May Eliminate Need for Braces. For some patients, tooth reshaping and dental contouring may serve as a substitute for braces since the procedure can already make the teeth look straighter and eliminate minor overlapping.
- Slight Tooth Appearance Change. Tooth reshaping unlike other cosmetic dental procedures will not cause any dramatic or obvious change on your smile or its white appearance. The change will be subtle. If you want a completely new look, veneers would be a better option. Tooth reshaping and dental contouring only eliminate minor imperfections, so it won’t do if you want to flash sparkling white teeth. It will, however, improve the appearance of your teeth from the mild imperfect state to a better shaped and contoured tooth.
- Risk of Tooth Damage. Teeth may become sensitive after reshaping especially if the amount of enamel removed is not small. You can look at this post for some remedies for tooth sensitivity. You can also be at risk of tooth breakage if too much enamel has been removed for reshaping.
Is the Procedure Suitable for Your Problem?
Not all dental imperfections can be suitably addressed by tooth reshaping. This cosmetic dental procedure is suitable for people who require minor adjustment or modification on their teeth with imperfections. The procedure, however, is not advised for people who want to address decaying tooth, root canals or unhealthy gums.
Tooth reshaping can be the first step towards more extensive cosmetic dentistry works such as veneers, tooth whitening and crown lengthening, which can be performed months or years after tooth reshaping and contouring. Having said that, tooth reshaping and contouring can already be your ticket to a better smile and improved tooth appearance, sans the high costs of other procedures.