Dental patients today have more ways than ever to correct a smile they find displeasing. Braces, bonding and whitening are three of the more readily available methods. And your dentist can properly consult you as to which treatment is right for you. Another option is tooth recontouring. This involves a process known as an odontoplasty.
What Is An Odontoplasty?
Also referred to as an enameloplasty, the American Dental Association defines the process as adjusting a tooth's length, size or shape. The procedure includes removing tooth enamel. A dentist uses a sanding disc or fine diamond bur to eliminate enamel from a tooth to alter its shape. Once the dentist has changed, or contoured, the length or shape of the tooth, the dentist will polish the area, thus, completing the procedure.
The entire process consists of an initial exam to determine if the patient is a recontouring candidate. The dentist might take an X-ray of the teeth at this time. No follow-up visit is necessary if the recontouring doesn't accompany another procedure.
An odontoplasty has both advantages and disadvantages. Since it's a cosmetic process, the results are instantaneous. And the entire procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes. It's also painless, as enamel doesn't contain any nerve endings.
There are two main drawbacks though. An odontoplasty only solves minor cosmetic issues. Talk to your dentist about other options if your teeth require significant work to recontour. The other is that even though your teeth are being reshaped, you lose enamel, the coating that protects your teeth. And since the body doesn't regenerate enamel, there is only a finite supply on each tooth. Once it's gone, it's gone.
A dentist will perform an odontoplasty as part of a crown lengthening procedure. A crown lengthening, performed by a periodontist, is a method used to expose more of a tooth by surgically removing bone, gum or both.
After administering a local anesthetic, the periodontist will expose tooth roots and the surrounding bone by making cuts in the gums. In a lot of cases, some bone around the tooth roots will need to be removed, as well. The gums are then washed, sterilized and stitched together in preparation for the eventual crown placement.
Ice your face for the first few hours after surgery. Your dentist may prescribe pain relievers. Schedule a follow-up in seven to 10 days for stitches removal. Then, your gums will need three months to heal before the final crown is placed.
No matter how you obtain your perfect smile, once you get it you should diligently work to keep it. That means developing a proper oral care regimen that includes brushing at least two times each day complemented by flossing. Use Colgate Enamel Health Whitening toothpaste because it helps replenish natural calcium, fights cavities and freshens breath. And of course, remember to schedule regular cleanings with your dentist.