Teeth that are misshapen or mismatched can have an unappealing look that may prevent you from smiling as much as you should. Oftentimes, people who have a less than perfect smile find themselves trying to hide their smile as much as possible. If this sounds familiar, then enamel contouring may be right for you.
Enamel contouring, sometimes known as enameloplasty, dental contouring, or teeth reshaping, is a cosmetic dental procedure that reshapes the tooth enamel in order to fix minor imperfections and improve the overall appearance of your teeth. In some cases, enamel contouring procedures may also be used in coordination with cosmetic bonding to shape the teeth.
Prior to contouring your enamel, your cosmetic dentist will first perform dental x-rays to evaluate the health of your teeth and to determine the location of the tooth’s pulp. These x-rays provide your dentist with a guide on how much enamel can be removed, which ultimately lets them know if enamel contouring is the right treatment for you. Enamel contouring may be right for you if:
You Have Long Teeth
If your teeth appear to be longer than normal, enamel contouring may be used to reduce the length. However, teeth that appear to be longer than normal can also be a sign of gum recession caused by gum disease. Therefore, your dentist will first need to determine the cause before proceeding with treatment.
Your Teeth are Uneven
Enamel contouring is ideal for people who have teeth that are unevenly sized. When there are multiple teeth with different sizes, some teeth may be reduced in length while others may have a composite material added. The end result is an even line of appropriately sized teeth.
You Have Minor Imperfections
Enamel contouring is ideal for making minor adjustments to the shape and or length of your teeth. This is because your dentist is limited in the amount of enamel they can remove. Unfortunately, removing too much tooth enamel can weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to decay. For this reason, more severe imperfections may require a different approach such as veneers.
You Want Fast Results
Enamel contouring can be performed during a single dental appointment. Depending on the amount of contouring needed, most appointments can be completed in about 30-45 minutes. However, appointments requiring the addition of composite material may take longer since the composite is applied and hardened one layer at a time.
You Want Permanent Results
Tooth enamel does not grow back, which means that the results are permanent once your enamel has been reshaped. However, if cosmetic bonding was used to add material to your teeth, then this material will eventually need to be replaced when it wears down. On average, composite materials can last about 5-7 years if cared for properly.
You Want a Non-Invasive Procedure
Since enamel contouring only affects the outermost layer of your teeth, it is considered to be a non-invasive cosmetic dental treatment. Furthermore, the use of dental anesthetics is often not needed during an enamel contouring procedure.
You Want to Improve Your Oral Health
There are some cases where enamel contouring can offer more than just aesthetic benefits. For example, correcting minor overlaps can reduce plaque accumulation in that area. This ultimately reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.