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Tooth reshaping - sometimes referred to as dental contouring - is a cosmetic dental technique a dentist uses to make small repairs to the appearance of your teeth. If you are considering cosmetic dentistry to correct minor problems with your teeth, understand more about tooth reshaping to help you decide if this particular dental treatment is right for you.

Problems Tooth Reshaping Corrects

Dentists use tooth reshaping to correct problems such as teeth that slightly overlap or are shaped irregularly. The technique, which can change the shape and length of your teeth, also repairs tiny chips or cracks in the teeth, uneven teeth, or shallow pits and grooves in the tooth enamel.

Tooth reshaping is a treatment option for worn edges, which can cause teeth to become jagged as the enamel erodes. Generally, dentists perform the procedure on the upper lateral and central incisors and cuspids.

Because your dentist removes only surface tooth enamel, tooth reshaping is usually painless; therefore, treatment requires no anesthesia. However, your teeth may be sensitive to hot and cold drinks or foods for a few days after the procedure.

Benefits of Tooth Reshaping

The cost of tooth reshaping is inexpensive in comparison to other more complex cosmetic dental procedures. Depending on the extent of the repair, your geographical location, and the dentist's experience, the cost varies between $50 and $500 per tooth. In some instances, such as repairing a tooth chipped in an accident, your dental insurance plan may pay toward some of the cost.

The reshaping technique can make teeth look straighter and more uniform in shape and size. Therefore, if you have only minor overlapping of teeth, reshaping can be an alternative to braces. Tooth reshaping can make your teeth look less crowded too.

Provided that you don't need major changes to the alignment of your teeth, tooth reshaping improves your smile in much less time than braces require. When an uneven bite isn't severe enough to need orthodontic treatment, your dentist may recommend tooth reshaping to correct a minor bite problem.

Another benefit of tooth reshaping is the removal of slight overlaps where plaque can build up. This makes your teeth easier to clean, reducing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay in hard-to-reach places. Dentists also use tooth reshaping to do away with uneven edges and sharp points on teeth.

The Process

Your dentist will first mark the areas of your teeth that need reshaping. With the use of dental instruments or a laser, he or she will then remove imperfections on the surface of your teeth.

How long the procedure takes depends on how much work your dentist needs to do. Even so, reshaping involves removing only minimal amounts of tooth enamel. Once the procedure is complete, the final step involves smoothing and polishing your teeth.

Tooth reshaping is often used in combination with bonding to improve the appearance of teeth. Dental bonding is another inexpensive cosmetic dental procedure. With dental bonding, your dentist uses a toothcolored resin on the tooth surface to fill in small chips and cracks or help shape teeth.

Dental Health Factors

You may not be a good candidate for tooth reshaping if you have tooth decay or signs of gum disease. Because your teeth and gums must be healthy, your dentist will first examine your teeth to make certain that the imperfections you want to be corrected can be fixed with tooth reshaping.

Dentists also look for the presence of dental problems that may interfere with the removal of surface tooth enamel. Because healthy teeth and gums are requirements for tooth reshaping treatments, your dentist will take dental x-rays to identify the presence of any areas of tooth decay, bone damage, problems with tooth roots, or gum disease.

If you aren't happy with the appearance of your teeth when you smile, Smiles by Canada offers a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help you feel better about the way you look.