You see it every time you look in the mirror — that little imperfection in your teeth. It may be that your teeth are a little crooked, or they are different sizes, or maybe you have a tooth with a small chip. Is there an easy way to fix this problem so you can have the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted? Yes, with cosmetic contouring!
Cosmetic contouring, tooth reshaping, and bonding
Cosmetic contouring is also known as tooth contouring or cosmetic tooth reshaping. It involves removing tooth enamel (the outer covering of the tooth) in small amounts to change the surface, the length or the shape of the tooth, and to correct minor imperfections. Contouring is usually performed on teeth that are most visible when you smile – such as your front teeth.
Often, contouring is combined with bonding, which is the use of a composite material to help shape the tooth. This material is a tooth-colored resin, and it is very tough and durable. Like contouring, the process of bonding is very quick and easy, and requires little advance preparation. Your dentist will choose a resin color that best matches your teeth. He will apply the resin and mold it and smooth it until it is in the desired shape. Then, he will use a laser or an ultraviolet light to harden the material after which he may need to trim it and shape it more.
Cosmetic contouring for overcrowded teeth
Cosmetic contouring is a quick way to fix many flaws: chips, teeth that are too long or too short for the teeth surrounding it and pointed teeth. It can be used to correct small bite problems that can be caused when teeth are uneven. It can even be used if you feel your teeth aren’t “masculine” or “feminine” enough. Dr. Morrow can shape your teeth to help you achieve the look you want.
Cosmetic tooth contouring can be used as a substitute for braces or overcrowded teeth and other more expensive techniques for fixing problems — techniques that can be quite painful, and that can take years and years to see results from.
Cosmetic dental contouring procedure
Dr. Morrow will first want to do a thorough exam of your teeth, and he will take X-rays of the teeth you would like contoured. This way, he can ensure that teeth are healthy, and he can evaluate the size and location of the tooth pulp, to make sure that there is enough supportive bone between teeth. He will make some marks on your teeth to help map out what contouring is needed.
Contouring is done with dental instruments and abrasion techniques. He will use an instrument, such as a sanding drill or a laser to remove enamel on the surface of the tooth, eliminating imperfections, chips and fractures. He will use a rough instrument like sandpaper to contour the sides of the teeth. When the contouring is completed, Dr. Morrow will smooth and polish your teeth.
Benefits of cosmetic tooth contouring and reshaping
The main benefit of cosmetic contouring is that it can really change the appearance of your teeth with very little effort and cost. It can take as few as 30 minutes, and you can see the results immediately (although some contouring treatments may take more than one visit to the dentist).
Another plus to contouring is that it is painless – usually anesthesia isn’t even necessary, because the dentist is only working on the enamel of your teeth. Contouring is a conservative approach to changing your teeth, much more so than getting a crown, braces or other restoration. This also means that the cost of cosmetic tooth contouring is a lot less expensive than other techniques to improve your smile.
However, contouring isn’t just a good idea for cosmetic purposes. If your teeth overlap, for instance, tartar and plaque can build up in between them, and it can be hard to remove. Tooth reshaping, or contouring, makes it easier to get in between teeth to clean them thoroughly. If you have a chip or a fracture in your tooth and you don’t take care of it simply and easily with contouring, it may get worse, requiring more time and money to fix later.
Is there a downside to cosmetic contouring?
The main downside to contouring is that there are limits to what it can do. Too much contouring, and too much enamel removed, can lead to weak teeth that decay easily. If you needed contouring because, for instance, you grind your teeth and have worn them down, you will need to resolve your grinding issue or they will just get worn down again.
Cosmetic contouring and bonding are great ways to quickly fix minor imperfections with your teeth. If you are unhappy with your smile, Dr. Morrow can help, with cosmetic dental contouring! Call his dental office in Yonkers, Westchester County, NY today and make an appointment – (914) 476-4040.