If a small issue in your smile makes you self-conscious, consider dental contouring. It's a noninvasive cosmetic dentistry procedure that removes small amounts of enamel from your teeth in order to give them the perfect shape.
A cosmetic dentist uses a small diamond bur to carefully grind away very small (usually less than a millimeter in depth) portions of enamel from your tooth to make it more even. This procedure is painless because the pulp of your tooth is never touched and your enamel does not feel pain. It can be performed in one visit and is very inexpensive.
Tooth contouring does require your teeth to be healthy with no signs of decay and no damage to the pulp or root. It's also only suitable for minor alterations to your teeth, since your teeth have a very thin layer of enamel to contour and it is important for your dental health to preserve as much of the enamel layer as possible. However, it's a great option for the following complaints.
Teeth With Sharp Or Uneven Edges
One of the most popular reasons to undergo dental contouring is to even out the edge of the tooth. Cuspids (canine teeth) that are too sharp are softened by removing enamel from the edge of the tooth to round it out. Incisors that have uneven or sloping edges have their edges evened and straightened by removing a small portion of enamel from the tooth. Dental contouring ensures that your smile will be soft and even.
If your teeth became sharp or uneven because you are grinding your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard that you can wear when you go to sleep – otherwise, you will slowly wear your teeth down again.
If you have a minor chip in one of your teeth that has left it with a jagged edge, dental contouring can help. A small amount of enamel is removed around the chip to soften it and blend it in to the rest of the tooth, which makes the chip less noticeable.
However, composite bonding or veneers will be needed for major chips. The reason for this is that the chip may be too close to the pulp of the tooth – in this case, it isn't safe to remove any more enamel from the tooth due to the danger of exposing the pulp.
If you have a minor overlay, where one of your teeth juts in front of another, dental contouring can be used to remove portions of enamel on both affected teeth. This increases the space between your teeth and stops one tooth from overlaying another, giving you a straighter smile.
If many teeth are affected or the overlay is major, braces may be required. However, dental contouring is perfect for making a small adjustment to one troublesome overlay without the need to wear braces for months.
Dental contouring is safe, painless, inexpensive and can be performed in one visit. If you have a minor imperfection in your smile that needs to be corrected, schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to discuss your options for dental contouring and reshaping.