If you have minor smile imperfections, you may want them fixed but think that common cosmetic treatments like veneers or dental crowns are not worth the trouble. When it comes to correct minor smile imperfections, there is another alternative that is easier than placing veneers or a dental crown. This alternative is known as enamel contouring.
Enamel contouring, also known as enameloplasty, dental contouring, or teeth reshaping, is a cosmetic dental procedure that reshapes the teeth in order to improve their appearance. It can be used to correct a variety of minor cosmetic flaws in as little as a single dental appointment. In some cases, enamel contouring may also be used in coordination with cosmetic bonding to further improve the look of certain teeth.
In order to determine whether enamel contouring is right for you, your cosmetic dentist will take dental x-rays in order to evaluate the enamel thickness and location of the pulp. From this information, your dentist can determine how much enamel you have and whether enamel contouring is an ideal procedure. Enamel contouring may be right for you if you:
Have Minor Imperfections
Since your dentist can only remove so much enamel before compromising the health of your tooth, enamel contouring is recommended for cases where the cosmetic imperfection is minor and only requires minimal adjustments. Imperfections that are more severe or that require a substantial amount of enamel removal may be better corrected using dental veneers.
Have Long or Uneven Teeth
Teeth that appear longer than usual can be shortened slightly with enamel contouring. However, teeth that look longer than usual can also be a sign of gum disease, so your dentist will need to evaluate your gums before making a decision to continue with enamel contouring for long teeth.
In addition to long teeth, enamel contouring also works well on uneven teeth, for example those that are different sizes, or even different shapes. Although all your teeth are naturally sized and shaped differently depending on the type of teeth, there are certain anatomical anomalies that are corrected by contouring the enamel and improving the overall appearance of certain teeth.
Want a Non-Invasive Procedure
Enamel contouring is considered to be a non-invasive cosmetic dental procedure because it only affects the outermost layer of the teeth. Because only the enamel is affected, this often means that the use of dental anesthetics are rarely required.
Want to Improve Your Oral Health
In some cases, having your enamel contoured can also help to improve your oral health. This is because teeth that are properly shaped and spaced are easier to clean and are less likely to have plaque buildup between them. Less plaque buildup also means that your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease are reduced.
Want Fast and Permanent Results
As mentioned before, enamel contouring smile makeovers can be completed in as little as a single dental appointment. In most cases, these appointments tend to last around 30-45 minutes, depending on how many teeth are being contoured. In some cases, appointments may last longer than 45 minutes if cosmetic bonding procedures are also being performed.
Not only is enamel contouring quick, but the results are also permanent since tooth enamel does not grow back once removed. This means that you will never need to repeat the procedure to keep your results. The exception to this is if you have cosmetic bonding performed, since cosmetic bonding material will need to be replaced every 5-7 years.
Dr. Gerard J. Lemongello Jr. graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and has been in private practice since 1987. His focus is on cosmetic and comprehensive restorative rehabilitative dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry, and is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.