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What is Dental Contouring and How Can it Help My Smile?

Posted on January 4, 2021 by Ryan Smith

NYC Dental Contouring

Dental contouring is, as it sounds, the reshaping of the teeth. It is considered a cosmetic dental procedure, known in the industry as odontoplasty or enameloplasty. The process includes removing small portions of tooth enamel to improve the surface, shape, or length of the tooth. Contouring is used to address a number of common issues including cracked, chipped, or crooked teeth. 

If you are hoping to enhance your smile by improving small flaws, dental contouring might be the right solution for you. From permanent stains to chips to cracks, contouring can address these small imperfections and improve your smile. The process is also used to manage other dental concerns including minor overlapping of teeth, overcrowding, and teeth of unusual sizes and shapes. These issues, though still minor, can cause future concerns when left unresolved. 

Dental contouring is a non-invasive procedure which can handle these issues and enhance your smile. As a bonus, contouring doesn’t require numerous hours in the dental chair to accomplish the task of getting you the smile you’ve always dreamed of having.

Today, the team at New York City Cosmetic Dentistry Center, led by Dr. Mal Braverman, shares the details of dental contouring and how it can help you and your smile:

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Contouring?

are you a good candidate for dental contouring

Dental contouring, also known as dental or tooth reshaping, is a simple process. If you believe contouring might provide the solution to your concerns, you will begin the process with an initial exam to find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure. This examination is thorough and often includes X-rays to verify the location and size of the tooth’s pulp. Following the exam, if your dentist confirms your teeth are healthy, you have sufficient enamel for the procedure, and you are a good candidate for dental contouring, your appointment will be scheduled for the procedure. 

The Dental Contouring Procedure

the dental contouring procedure

During the dental contouring procedure, the dentist will reshape your tooth by carefully removing small amounts of tooth enamel. Doing so enhances the shape and size of your tooth, and in turn, your smile. The entire process can take as little as 30 minutes to complete, and is often performed in conjunction with dental bonding that features custom-matched tooth-colored resin to complete the reshaping process.

At your appointment, your tooth (or teeth) to be treated will be marked using a pen/pencil highlighting the areas receiving the treatment. Your tooth enamel consists of minerals, with no underlying nerves or blood vessels, so no numbing or pain medications are needed to complete the procedure.

The dentist will use specialized tools (a laser or a sanding drill) to gradually remove small amounts of enamel at the surface of the tooth. Fractures (cracks) or chips are smoothed, edges are rounded or squared off as needed, and the teeth are shaped and smoothed on the sides. When the process is complete, the dentist will check that your bite is properly aligned. The dentist will then  smooth and polish your teeth, given you the desired aesthetics and enhanced smile.

After dental contouring, you should continue to brush twice daily and floss, as well as continue your regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

The Benefits of Dental Contouring (Reshaping)

the benefits of dental contouring

Among the main benefits of dental contouring is the fact that the procedure itself is non-invasive. The simple procedure is simple and straightforward as a cosmetic procedure, making it less costly than other options in repairing chips, cracks, and overlapping teeth.  In addition, it is a painless procedure which requires no anesthesia or pain medications and is often completed in a single visit, making it an ideal choice for individuals who experience anxiety in regard to dental visits.

Since dental contouring can repair crooked or overlapping teeth, the potential for future decay and additional expenses is reduced. On top of that, the procedure results in the instant enhancement of your smile. Plus, results permanent, meaning no additional work to the reshaped teeth in the future. 

While dental contouring offers a number of benefits, as with any dental procedure, it also has its share of advantages and disadvantages. When considering any procedure, each patient, along with his or her dentist, should consider whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of moving forward in the process. Your dentist can help you make the best decision.

Advantages of Dental Contouring:

  • Painless, requires no anesthesia, and no recovery time after the procedure is complete.
  • Costs range per tooth from $50 to $300 dollars, and insurance may pay part of the cost if the procedure is required due to an accident. 
  • Lowers the risk of tooth decay and gum disease which can result from minor overlapping of teeth. 
  • Delivers permanent results and improves the appearance of your teeth in as little as 30 minutes.

Other Things to Know About Dental Contouring:

  • Only effective in the case of minor imperfections.
  • After procedure, patients may experience temporary sensitivity to heat and cold.
  • If the need for contouring is grinding (bruxism), you may have a recurrence of the issues should your grinding continue unabated.

Is Dental Contouring Right for You?

If you believe dental contouring may be the right choice for you to improve your appearance and your smile, reach out to Dr. Mal Braverman and the team at New York City Cosmetic Dentistry Center. Your initial consultation is FREE and includes a complete evaluation regarding your cosmetic dental concerns.

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