Tooth reshaping, or recontouring, is known by many other names, including stripping, slenderizing, odontoplasty, and enameloplasty.
A Non-Invasive Procedure
Tooth reshaping is a non-invasive procedure that involves the removal of small amounts of tooth enamel to change the shape, length, or surface of a tooth. It is mostly done for esthetic purposes to improve one’s appearance by creating more balance and harmony in the look of the smile. Actually, tooth reshaping is considered the most conservative cosmetic treatment.
Advantages of Tooth Reshaping or Recontouring
Tooth reshaping is a quick, painless, and effective way to correct minor imperfections and enjoy the results immediately. The fact that it is painless means that there is minimal discomfort during the procedure, and patients don’t usually need anesthesia. The procedure can be used to:
- Repair small chips in the tooth
- Smooth out pits or bulges in tooth enamel
- Adjust the length of the canines
- Adjust minor tooth shape irregularities caused by crowding or uneven teeth
- Improve your overall dental health by removing overlaps or crevices between teeth where plaque and bacteria can accumulate
Since recontouring can eliminate minor overlapping and straighten teeth, the procedure can be used instead of installing braces.
Tooth Reshaping - What to Expect
An initial exam is necessary to determine if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. Your dentist may start by taking an X-ray of the teeth that need correcting to identify the location and size of the tooth’s pulp (center of tooth containing blood vessels and nerves). If the tooth enamel is too thin, reshaping may not be advisable, and you may need to consider bonding or veneers.
If it is determined that recontouring will not affect the tooth pulp, you can proceed with the procedure. No anesthetic is required. The dentist will use a fine diamond bur or sanding disc to remove small amounts of tooth enamel. If there are imperfections between the teeth, a strip of sandpaper will be used to shape/smooth the sides.
Once the imperfections have been corrected, your tooth or teeth are polished, and no follow-up is necessary, unless recontouring was combined with bonding or veneer placement.
Tooth Reshaping FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are the instances when reshaping is not recommended?
Tooth reshaping is discouraged in cases of extensive tooth imperfections, such as deep fracture or considerable chips. It is also not recommended for people with thin enamel as it may cause tooth sensitivity. The procedure should not be used as a substitute for bonding or veneers, though it may be used in conjunction with them.
Who is the ideal candidate for reshaping?
There are many indications for the procedure, including minor imperfections like subtle unevenness, small chips, shallowly pitted surfaces, slight overlaps, and worn biting areas; and cases of tooth proportion, like large, pointy canine teeth. Generally, recontouring can only be performed on healthy, strong teeth.