Tooth reshaping and contouring or dental reshaping is a cosmetic dentistry process. A professional dentist removes tiny amounts of tooth enamel to change the tooth’s shape, length, and surfaces.
A dentist performs the procedure to correct minor flaws on teeth, including chipping, cracking, and overlapping. On some occasions, this procedure can substitute for getting braces. Dentists use a dental drill to create a visually-appealing tooth manually.
If you are self-conscious about your smile because you have cracks and chips, you will benefit from tooth reshaping and contouring. It has some key benefits but a few shortcomings, as you will discover below.
However, let us first examine some of the qualities that make you the ideal candidate for tooth reshaping and contouring.
Who Needs Tooth Reshaping?
Dental reshaping is an elective cosmetic procedure. It is not appropriate for everyone, and your dentist will need to clear you for the process before you can go through with it. However, the most common qualities that make you ideal for dental contouring are:
- Small cracks and chips in the teeth. They have to be small cracks and chips with no underlying conditions. Reshaping cannot fix large cracks.
- Overlong teeth. If you have long pointed teeth, then contouring can shorten them to give you a more natural look and an easier time smiling or talking.
- Minor misalignment. Tooth reshaping is ideal for minor misalignment. If your dentist recommends braces, then go for the braces.
- Uneven smiles. And similarly, if you have a slightly crooked smile, contouring can help give you a perfect smile.
It is important to note that people with dental diseases and conditions cannot undergo dental reshaping. Compromised teeth are weaker and more prone to infection. Since dental reshaping calls for taking a bit of enamel from the tooth, it will significantly affect tooth structure and function.
Therefore, do not consider tooth reshaping if you have cavities, loose teeth, and other issues that can contradict the procedure. Always go to your practitioner for a dental checkup and ask if you are an ideal candidate for dental reshaping.
What To Expect
If your dentist has approved the procedure, then there are a few key things you need to know. The procedure sees the dentist first getting x-rays of your dental structure. The x-rays give the dentist vital information about the location and size of the pulp of each tooth. It also confirms that you have enough bone between the teeth to support them.
The dentist will gently remove tooth enamel with a laser drill. They will trim misshapen areas and even out badly-shaped teeth for a proper bite. The dentist can also use the drill to shorten excessively long teeth.
The dentist may also use dental bonding to rectify cracks. It involves applying the composite resin directly onto the surface then curing it under UV light. The dentist will then polish the surface to give it a natural glow.
After the procedure, the dentist will smooth and polish all altered teeth depending on the extent of work.
Note that the procedure is painless since drilling and bonding only happen on the outer layer of the teeth. The enamel has no nerves, so you should be okay. But you could request a local anesthetic if you are uncomfortable.
Additionally, your dentist may use a specialized laser and abrasive strips in place of a drill. You can always ask questions about the tools to put yourself at ease.
Benefits Of Tooth Reshaping Teeth
Patients who undergo dental reshaping enjoy benefits such as:
- Fast. This procedure takes about thirty minutes to complete. You do not need any prepping, and you can go home immediately after the procedure.
- Painless. This procedure is not painless since it does not touch the nerves in the teeth. You should be comfortable throughout the procedure.
- Affordable substitute. This treatment can be a suitable substitute for orthodontic treatments like braces. But ensure that your dentist approves.
- No healing process. There is no healing process; your teeth should only need aftercare. You can be back at work the same day.
- Preventing tooth decay in the long run. Contouring changes the anatomy or overhangs that can cause tartar buildup. It also makes it more efficient to clean between the teeth. This goes into preventing tooth decay.
- Improved self-image and confidence. And finally, with a better smile, you can be more confident in social interactions.
Shortcomings Of Tooth Contouring And Reshaping
Like all dental procedures, tooth reshaping and contouring have potential risks. The serious one lies in the enamel of your tooth. The enamel is thin, less than 3mm thick. Therefore, your dentist has to be extra careful during the procedure.
You risk losing too much enamel, which can translate into multiple problems. You could develop sensitivity to hot and cold. Additionally, it could put you at risk of tooth decay and damage. Moreover, your teeth could start yellowing with exposure to external factors.
Ensure that you go to a skilled and experienced dentist for these reasons. Moreover, you should never attempt to ‘file down’ your teeth for reshaping and alignment. In doing so, you damage your own teeth.
Just because there is no recovery does not mean you should neglect your teeth after the procedure. There are no special treatments and medications needed, but you should:
- Keep up with dental checkups
- Avoid smoking
- Floss at least once a day
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Get a new soft-bristle toothbrush
- Avoid biting nails
- Avoid eating hard food for a while
- Reduce consumption of teeth-staining foods
Is Tooth Reshaping Right For Me?
If you struggle with a crooked smile and have strong, healthy teeth with good bone structure, then tooth contouring and reshaping is ideal for you. However, ensure that your dentist explains the risks to you and that you are comfortable with the process.
Moreover, you should go to a skilled and qualified practitioner for the best results. It is a procedure worth considering, and with appropriate intervention from a dentist, your smile will look better than ever.