Tooth reshaping—also known as tooth shaving or tooth contouring—is a dental procedure where small portions of enamel are removed to adjust a tooth's shape and size. This procedure can increase the risk of tooth sensitivity and may require patients to use soft-bristled brushes and non-abrasive toothpaste. However, these side effects may be well worth it for some individuals as tooth reshaping does have some cosmetic and functional benefits. Here are four scenarios where tooth reshaping may be a good fit.
You Want to Improve the Appearance of Your Smile
There are several cosmetic services, such as whitening or veneers, that can help you achieve an ideal smile. However, tooth reshaping may be more appealing to some people because it's less invasive—only a small portion of enamel is removed—and it is more affordable than other procedures. If you have chipped, crooked, or cracked teeth, your dentist can shave down uneven areas and/or fill out areas with bonding resin. If your teeth look too large, your dentist can shave down the incisal edges.
You Want to Reduce Tooth Crowding
Some patients have such crowded teeth, that flossing is incredibly difficult, and their oral hygiene suffers. Water flossers and thin waxed dental floss can help clean hard-to-reach interproximal spaces, but some people may opt for reshaping to make interproximal care easier. If you have an incredibly small arch and want to proceed with orthodontic treatment, then tooth reshaping can still help, as the procedure helps add space to the arch so that your teeth can be moved more easily to new positions.
You Want Improved Occlusion Without Orthodontics
Occlusion in the dental field refers to how your upper and lower teeth contact one another. Teeth have cusps, or pointed areas, that should ideally rest in opposing fossae, or pits. Unfortunately, due to crooked teeth or bruxism, some people have uneven cusps or pits that don't fit together very well. Irregular occlusion can cause premature wear on enamel and potentially lead to issues like TMJ dysfunction. While orthodontics can fix occlusal issues, some people don't have the time or budget to go through this process. Your dentist might recommend tooth reshaping to mitigate occlusal issues. For example, if a cusp is placing too much pressure on the lingual or buccal aspect, then he or she may shave it down to prevent microfractures.
You Want to Accommodate a Dental Appliance
Sometimes, tooth reshaping is recommended for people who are planning to wear a removal appliance. Partial dentures, for instance, have rest seats, anchors, and metal clasps that need to fit snugly on teeth but not be so tight as to be painful. Your dentist might recommend reshaping so that the appliance can fit comfortably with your mouth and blend better with your natural dentition.
Reach out to a cosmetic dentist today to learn more about tooth reshaping to see if it's right for you. For more information, contact a professional like Dan Czapek, D.M.D.