Most people have tooth irregularities of some sort. If yours are affecting the way you feel about your smile, you may be looking to a cosmetic dentist to solve those issues. While porcelain veneers are a popular way to change the shape and size of your teeth, they're also very costly and are better suited for patients who have moderate to severe problems with the size, shape, or shade of their teeth. For minor issues, the lesser-known procedure enamel shaping may be a better fit.
What Is Enamel Shaping?
Enamel shaping is a very simple procedure where your dentist removes tiny amounts of enamel, the outer covering of your teeth, using a tool very similar to the ones used to polish your teeth during routine cleanings. A tiny, fine-grain sandpaper disc is attached to the tool to allow your dentist to contour the shape of your teeth.
It's an extremely quick process that can be completed in a single appointment. It's also painless, so you won't need an anesthetic. All you'll feel is some slight pressure while your dentist works on contouring your tooth.
What Kind of Problems Can Enamel Shaping Fix?
Enamel shaping is an ideal treatment for anyone looking to change the size, shape, or texture of their teeth. Teeth with rough spots or an uneven texture can be smoothed over. Teeth with small chips at the ends can be evened out so it appears as if the tooth was never damaged. If you have adjacent teeth that are noticeably different in size or shape, enamel shaping can make them appear nearly identical. This is particularly useful if you have one front tooth that is longer than the other.
Enamel shaping isn't for solely cosmetic reasons in all cases. If your teeth overlap to the point where it's difficult to floss between them properly, enamel shaping can eliminate those tight spaces, making it easier to clean plaque from between your teeth and reducing your risk of cavities.
Combining Enamel Shaping With Bonding
Many cosmetic dentists combine enamel shaping with bonding to give patients complete smile makeovers for a much lower cost than a full mouth of veneers. Bonding involves using resin that is colored to match your natural teeth to fill in any holes or uneven gaps. Once the resin sets, dentists use a polishing tool to smooth the tooth and give it a more natural appearance. Like enamel shaping, bonding is a relatively low-cost and quick procedure.
Contact a cosmetic dentistry office to discuss your overall concerns and goals before committing to any procedure to make sure you'll be happy with your treatment and the results.