Tooth Reshaping & Contouring
in Mission Valley, CA
Teeth contouring or enameloplasty is a simple procedure where we use tools like drills or lasers to gently remove and reshape small portions of your teeth’s enamel.
How is the procedure performed?
When a tooth extends too far or has a chip that makes it look awkward, we can remove small portions of the enamel from your teeth to fix these imperfections. Once we are done removing enamel from your teeth we will check with you to make sure that you like the aesthetic, then we will polish it. Polishing your tooth will round out any sharp edges left by the procedure and give it a nice natural sheen.
What are the benefits?
There are a few benefits that contouring provides, the first of which is instant results. These changes take only a few minutes to make, and we can use feedback from you to get the exact look that you want quickly. Usually, the procedure lasts less than a half hour and requires no localized anesthetic. There are no nerves in the enamel of your teeth, so discomfort during the procedure is extremely limited. The fact that discomfort is almost never experienced during this procedure makes it a great option for those who are nervous about having dental work done.
This procedure offers permanent results. Enamel is not something that replenishes over time, so this procedure is not one that you will have to worry about repeating.
Are there disadvantages?
The biggest disadvantage of this procedure is that it can only be used to fix minor aesthetic imperfections. It’s good at fixing issues like teeth that appear to be too long or are slightly misshapen. The reason we can’t fix larger aesthetic issues using tooth contouring is that the enamel on your teeth is only so thick. Because there is a limited amount of enamel on your teeth, coupled with the fact that your teeth need at least some enamel to protect themselves, we are limited in how much we can safely alter them.
Because your enamel is critical to the health of your teeth, once you have tooth contouring done, it is important that you take great care of your teeth. Abrasive forces like brushing must be done gently with a soft bristled toothbrush. There is even such a thing as an extra-soft bristled toothbrush that can help you to protect your investment in tooth recontouring and your teeth in general.
Is tooth contouring right for you?
This procedure is great for people who are looking to make minor cosmetic alterations to their teeth. It’s simple, cost-effective, and quick. If you are mostly happy with your smile but for that one tooth that sticks out a bit too much, tooth contouring is perfect for you! On the other hand, if you have significant aesthetic issues with your teeth, you might want to look at one of our more intensive cosmetic procedures like porcelain veneers or dental bonding. Issues like crooked, misshapen, crowded, or teeth that are too far apart are usually out of the scope of tooth contouring. These more serious issues can be fixed with veneers, braces, dental bonding, and a few other cosmetic dental procedures.
As mentioned above, after we have reshaped your teeth they will have less enamel, which is their main defense against tooth decay and the natural wear and tear of chewing. After tooth contouring, we recommend that you brush gently with a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush and floss at least once a day. It is important to stress that the brushing action you use should be gentle. Many people believe that a good, firm brushstroke will get your teeth cleaner when in reality a soft touch is more than enough to rid your teeth of the plaque that builds up on them throughout the day. Pushing hard on your toothbrush can score and scratch the enamel on your teeth. Consider a regular fluoride treatment with us as well because fluoride can help to strengthen the enamel of your teeth and protect them from abrasion.
Whereas tooth contouring involves removing part of the teeth, dental bonding involves adding to the teeth. We use a special tooth-colored composite resin to add structure to teeth that need to be altered to look natural or more pleasing. The composite resin we use to make dental bonds is the same material we use for tooth-colored fillings. We mix the resin with small particles of glass and plastic to match the color of your teeth perfectly and then prepare your teeth to receive the bond by adding some texture to your tooth. The resin is applied in a claylike consistency to your tooth so that we can shape and mold it accordingly. Once it looks appropriate, we set it in place permanently with a special ultraviolet light.
Dental bonding can be used to fix a wide range of aesthetic issues, from spacing issues to cracked or misshapen teeth. The nice thing about dental bonding is that it doesn’t require us to alter the teeth significantly. Dental bonds should be treated following similar guidelines to those of tooth contouring. Never use your teeth as tools to help open packaging and never chew on hard objects like ice.
Please call us today at 619-220-7475 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you smile!