A Whole New Smile: How Recontouring Can Improve Your Teeth

If you've been struggling with a smile that's uneven or teeth that are rough and misshapen, your dentist may suggest that you consider recontouring. It is a cosmetic procedure that alters the shape of your teeth through a process of grinding small amounts of enamel away. As the enamel is removed, it alters the length, shape or surface texture of the tooth. Here's a look at what makes a good candidate for this procedure and what you could expect of the process.

Who is a Good Candidate for Recontouring?

People who have small imperfections in their teeth are the best candidates for this type of procedure. For example, if you're dealing with minor chips on your teeth, visible pits in tooth enamel or uneven teeth, this is a good choice. It's also a viable option for patients who are looking to shorten their canine teeth so that they are the same size as the other teeth in the mouth. Recontouring is even a viable option for people with small overlaps in their teeth, which are important to address in order to avoid tartar buildup.

Patients with deep ridges in the teeth, completely fractured teeth or large chips missing may not be good candidates for this type of work. It's not designed for this type of extensive repair work.

What Can You Expect From the Process?

Before your dentist can do any work, he or she will require a full consultation. During this consultation, a cosmetic dentist will typically do x-rays to examine the pulp inside your teeth and the amount of enamel that's present around it. This is important, because the pulp of your teeth houses the nerves and blood vessels, which are then protected by that enamel. You need to have enough enamel around the teeth for the dentist to do the procedure without exposing the pulp of the tooth. If the enamel's thin, you may have to consider another option.

If you go ahead with the procedure, the dentist will use a tool fitted with a small sanding disc to remove enamel from the problem areas. It's done gradually, so it takes a bit of time. If the dentist needs to work between any teeth, that often requires the use of strips of fine sandpaper. After the sanding, your teeth will be completely polished.

If you've been considering your options to try to restore your smile, you should talk with your dentist, like Alaska Dental Arts, about the benefits of recontouring. He or she can tell you if it might be right for your needs.