There are lots of cosmetic dentistry treatments available to people who would like to improve the aesthetic appearance of their smile and boost their self-confidence. You may already be familiar with some of them, such as teeth whitening and Invisalign aligners. But what about tooth contouring and reshaping? This lesser-known procedure is actually commonly performed, either as a standalone treatment or as part of another cosmetic dentistry procedure.
What exactly is tooth contouring and reshaping?
Cosmetic tooth contouring and reshaping involve the gentle and strategic removal of some of the tooth’s enamel. The removal of a little enamel can achieve a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing appearance of the tooth in cases when the tooth is slightly misshapen. In some cases, tooth reshaping also involves the use of dental bonding material. Bonding is a procedure in which the cosmetic dentist applies composite resin material to the tooth to fill in cracks or chips. The bonding material is then shaped and polished to form a natural appearance.
Although cosmetic tooth contouring can be done as a standalone treatment, it can also serve as a preparatory method for additional cosmetic dentistry treatments other than the application of composite resin.
Which cosmetic dentistry treatments require tooth contouring and reshaping?
By itself, tooth contouring is only capable of making minor adjustments to the symmetry of a tooth. But when it’s paired with a cosmetic treatment like dental veneers, a dramatic transformation can be achieved. Dental veneers are wafer-thin sheets that are adhered to the visible sides of teeth. They instantly cover up stubborn discoloration, cracks, chips, gaps, and similar cosmetic problems. However, in order to accommodate for the thickness of the veneer, the dentist must first remove a little enamel from the tooth.
Similarly, the placement of a porcelain crown also requires enamel removal. A crown is a cap that looks just like a tooth. To make room for it, the dentist must remove a significant amount of the natural enamel—up to 75% in cases where severe decay or structural damage was present.
Due to the removal of enamel, patients receiving either a crown or dental veneers should know that the treated teeth will always need to have an appropriate dental restoration. That is, if a crown fails or the veneers reach the end of their lifetime, they will need to be replaced.
What to expect from tooth contouring and reshaping
Before performing the treatment, the dentist will take some x-rays to make sure that the removal of the enamel will not adversely affect the dental pulp. Then, cosmetic dentists can use either a drill or a laser to gently remove the enamel. Misshapen areas are trimmed and smoothed. Then, bonding may be used, or a dental crown or veneer will be applied.
Find out whether tooth contouring and reshaping is right for you!
If you are curious about whether tooth contouring and reshaping could be the right solution for your smile problems, then come visit Long Island’s leading cosmetic dentists at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot in Huntington, LI provide personalized, one-on-one consultations designed to offer world-class patient education and customized smile makeover recommendations. Here, you’ll find a full suite of cosmetic dentistry options, including porcelain veneers and crowns. Get in touch today and schedule an appointment!
Additional resources for dental patients:
- Everyday Health, Tooth Reshaping and Dental Contouring, https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/cosmetic-dentistry/tooth-reshaping.aspx
- Colgate, Cosmetic Contouring: Four Things You Need to Know, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/cosmetic-contouring-four-things-you-need-to-know-1215