Do you avoid smiling because you have an uneven or chipped front tooth? Are your canine teeth too sharp-looking, or are your front two teeth too long?
If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people have minor imperfections in their front teeth which makes them self-conscious and too embarrassed to smile.
If you consciously avoid smiling due to chipped or uneven teeth, there is an easy and affordable solution that will help you regain the confidence you once had.
What is Tooth Contouring?
Tooth contouring (AKA “dental reshaping”) is the process by which a skilled dentist will remove a tiny bit of tooth enamel with a dental drill to manually sculpt a more aesthetically pleasing tooth.
After the tooth has been sculpted, it will be polished for a smooth look and finish. Typically, tooth contouring is only performed on the front teeth because these are the most visible teeth when you smile or open your mouth.
For chipped teeth, the dentist will apply a bonding material and cure it with UV light. Once the material has cured, the dentist will then reshape the tooth to make it look completely natural.
The entire process will take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how many teeth will have work done to them. Before the dentist starts the procedure, the dental assistant will give you a shot of Lidocaine to numb the area they’re working on.
Prior to undergoing the procedure, the dentist will take an X-ray of your mouth to ensure that there won’t be any bite issues after the tooth is bonded or contoured. If the dentist has concerns that the bite will be affected, several other viable procedures will be recommended instead of dental contouring.
Why Get Tooth Contouring?
Tooth contouring can solve a lot of minor aesthetic dental imperfections such as:
- Uneven tooth/teeth
- Small chips
- Small overlaps
- Tooth edges that are too pointy (canines) or flat
In some cases, contouring can also correct minor bite issues that occur when the teeth unevenly touch during contact. The contouring process can sometimes act as a substitute for braces as it can eliminate minor overlapping and make the teeth look straighter.
Dental contouring can also improve the health of the teeth. By removing imperfections and minor overlaps, plaque and tartar have fewer places to build up. This, in turn, will lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
How Much Does It Cost?
The final cost will be contingent upon the procedure that the dentist recommends. Tooth bonding will cost different than tooth contouring. The number of teeth that will need to be worked on will also affect the cost.
It’s best to make an appointment with a dentist so you can tell them your concerns about your front teeth. They will then make a recommendation based upon what is possible and what you’re trying to achieve.
Dental contouring is relatively inexpensive compared to other aesthetic dental procedures. In some cases, dental insurance may cover a portion of the procedure.
The procedure is done in an outpatient setting. After it’s done, you can proceed with your normal daily activities. The dentist might give you some aftercare instructions, such as avoiding certain hard foods or activities that could lead to the tooth re-chipping.
If you had dental contouring performed, the Lidocaine shot(s) should wear off 30 minutes to an hour after the procedure is finished. You may experience some minor discomfort or residual numbness for a few hours afterward. Your dentist can recommend over-the-counter medications to help ease any pain issues.
Is Dental Contouring Right for Me?
Dental contouring works best for people who need minor aesthetic corrections to repair the look or feel of their teeth. If you have unhealthy or decaying teeth or need a root canal, then dental contouring is not for you.
If you plan to get veneers, crown lengthening, or teeth whitening later down the road, you can get your teeth contoured months or years before you proceed with the more expensive dental work. The contouring process is much cheaper and can significantly improve the look of your mouth and your self-confidence.
Dental Contouring in Chicago
If dental reshaping/contouring sounds like it’s more art than science, it’s because it is.
For best results, this procedure should only be performed by experienced dentists, such as Dr. Aneszko or Dr. Stino at Water Tower Dental Care. It takes a skilled hand and gentle touch to make a chipped or uneven tooth look perfectly normal again.
Both Dr. Aneszko and Dr. Stino routinely undergo ongoing esthetic dental education so that they can provide the highest level of care to their patients.
If you have a chipped or uneven tooth, give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an appointment to learn more how dental contouring can give you back the confidence to smile!