Teeth reshaping is one of the most convenient, cost-effective options for fixing chipped, uneven or poorly aligned teeth to create a more attractive smile. Dentists often combine shaping or contouring teeth with a treatment called bonding, which involves applying resin to improve the overall appearance of the teeth. The front teeth are the best candidates for reshaping and bonding.
To reshape or contour teeth, a dentist gently removes tooth enamel with a laser or drill. Before starting the treatment, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), the dentist X-rays the teeth to check the location and amount of pulp. Next he or she trims misshapen areas, shortening excessively long teeth or altering badly shaped teeth to even them out for proper bite and alignment. The teeth are then smoothed and polished.
Reshaping may require just one 30-minute appointment with the dentist, depending on the extent of the work you need, and cost between $50 and $300 per tooth per estimates by Everyday Health.
Combining bonding with reshaping can fill in chips and gaps between teeth, add shape and improve tooth color. Bonding involves applying a puttylike resin, which adheres to the teeth and hardens. The resin is colored to provide the best result, either to match or improve the natural tooth color.
Before applying the resin, the dentist etches the tooth surface with a Dremel-like tool so that the resin adheres well. This can cause some sensitivity, so the dentist may numb the tooth area. He or she may also paint the teeth with a conditioning liquid, which also helps the resin stick to the teeth. After applying the resin and shaping it, a light is shined against it for hardening. Bonding takes 30 minutes to an hour, and if more than one tooth is being treated, the patient may need several appointments. Applying bonding in place of a silver filling can cost up to $300- $600 per tooth.
Reshaped and bonded teeth require good aftercare to maintain their attractive appearance. Of all dental restorations, bonded teeth are the most at risk of chipping and staining, according to the AGD. Patients should avoid chewing their fingernails, biting on pens, eating hard foods and opening things with their teeth to reduce the risks of chipping. Make sure to brush with a toothpaste such as Colgate Optic White® Lasting White twice a day to help keep teeth white and stain-free well after treatment. Smoke, coffee, tea and red wine are some substances that can stain the resin, so these should be avoided as well.
Teeth reshaping can provide a major confidence boost by fixing noticeably uneven teeth. Compared to braces and other orthodontic work, tooth contouring and bonding are among the least time-consuming and cheapest cosmetic dentistry options. A dentist can give you a breakdown of the treatment options and costs based on your needs.