Tooth Contouring and Reshaping

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Is there a small defect in your smile that always draws your eye in the mirror? A chip in a front tooth, some worn edges, or shallow pits or grooves in the tooth enamel are all minor issues, but they do stand in the way of having a perfect smile. If you suffer from one or more of these problems -- even to the extent of a minor fracture or overlap -- they all can be fixed using a procedure known as tooth contouring and reshaping.

Using a polishing instrument, the dentist removes small amounts of surface enamel of one or more teeth to compensate for the imperfections. Followed up with a smoothing and polishing of all the surrounding teeth, this quick, painless, and inexpensive procedure can make a big difference in your smile. Because it is relatively inexpensive and noninvasive, it is a good place to start changing your smile to the one that you have always wanted, but Mother Nature failed to give you.


*The cost of tooth contouring and reshaping depends on the procedure and can be anywhere from $100 - $500.

Teeth Contouring helps in correcting small problems and when used in combination with teeth reshaping technique, one can achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.

The Tooth contouring and reshaping is a procedure also known as tooth recontouring, odontoplasty and enameloplasty.









  1. What are the most common benefits of this procedure?
  2. How is the procedure performed?
  3. How long does the procedure take?
  4. Where will the procedure be performed?
  5. How much pain is there?
  6. What can I expect after the procedure?
  7. What is the recovery period like?
  8. What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
  9. Ideal Candidate:
  10. Other important information
  11. Risks and Limitations:


What are the most common benefits of tooth contouring?

The goal of tooth contouring and reshaping is to change the size or shape of the teeth so that slightly damaged or out of proportion teeth are brought back into alignment with the rest. In essence a cosmetic procedure, it is most often performed on the upper central, lateral, and canine teeth. Beyond the outward benefits, there are often oral health gains, too, as smoothing the teeth and repairing overlaps can make them easier to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Reshaping can also be used to correct minor problems with bite and function.

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How is the procedure performed?

Tooth contouring and reshaping takes place generally in one visit to the dentist's office, although a follow-up visit is sometimes necessary. Often the dentist will take a "before" photograph to use as a reference. Then, using various tools, the dentist carefully polishes off small areas of the tooth surface enamel and reforms the tooth into a more attractive shape. The edges of the newly shaped tooth are smoothed and polished, completing the procedure. An "after" photograph is made at this point so the differences can be easily seen. After contouring, the teeth are more uniform in shape and size making them appears less crowded and eye-catching imperfections are gone.

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How long does the procedure take?

The length of the procedure is dependent on the amount of changes that are being made to the teeth, but can run from under 30 minutes to over an hour.

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Where will the procedure be performed?

The procedure is performed in the dentist's office.

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How much pain is there?

Because only surface enamel is removed, there is no pain involved with the procedure, so no anesthetic is administered.

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What can I expect after the procedure?

Occasionally, there is minor sensitivity to hot and cold for a day or two after the procedure, but this irritation is minimal and almost uniformly disappears a short time after the procedure.

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What is the recovery period like?

Recovery for almost every patient undergoing tooth contouring or reshaping is instantaneous. You can generally eat immediately after the procedure. The removal of the small amount of enamel does not hurt the tooth nor is it replaced, so no healing is involved.

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What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

Tooth contouring permanently changes the shape of the teeth to a more esthetic look. However, if the wearing of the teeth was due to grinding, the same problem can recur.

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Ideal Candidate:

An ideal candidate would have minor imperfections in their teeth such as small chips, minor unevenness, slight overlaps, shallowly pitted surfaces, or worn biting areas in their teeth. Other indications for the procedure are one or more teeth out of proportion in size to the rest of the set, such as large, pointy canine teeth. Note that reshaping can only occur on healthy teeth, so x-rays are often taken before the procedure is done to check for problems.

Some characteristics of the teeth that might preclude reshaping are: thin enamel, previous extensive restorations of the tooth or surrounding teeth, recently erupted teeth, teeth having gum structure that would be disturbed by the procedure, or teeth that are still shifting. Some contouring is not recommended if it will adversely affect the patient's bite.

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Other important information

Keep in mind that tooth contouring and reshaping is a procedure for minor imperfections. Dentists often need to combine this procedure with other work such as veneers, bleaching, crowns, or other cosmetic procedures to achieve an optimum result.

If multiple procedures are needed and expense is an issue, consider doing the procedures over time. Often, contouring is a suggested first step that can make a big difference in how you feel about your smile.

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Risks and Limitations:

The risks involved in the procedure include the removal of too much enamel, subjecting the tooth to a greater chance of breakage or decay, or reappearance of the problem if it is due to grinding of the teeth. However, seeing an experienced cosmetic dentist virtually eliminates these risks.

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The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure and should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method of determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.

*Disclaimer: Source: Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon.

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