Cosmetic Contouring: Four Things You Need to Know

If minor cosmetic dental problems make you afraid to smile, cosmetic contouring may be right for you. This procedure, also called enameloplasty or tooth reshaping, can fix minor imperfections like slightly misshapen teeth. Here are four things you need to know about this cosmetic dental procedure.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

Enameloplasty is a fairly simple procedure. Your dentist will use tools like drills or lasers to gently remove some of your teeth's enamel to change the shape or length. Once your teeth have been contoured to your dentist's satisfaction, they will be polished to make them look as appealing as possible. Once your teeth have been polished, you'll be sent home to enjoy your new look.

What Are the Benefits?

The main benefit of cosmetic contouring is that it provides instant results. The whole procedure generally takes less than a half hour, so you'll only need one short appointment with your dentist to get the results you want. And there are no nerves in your enamel, so there is no need to worry about pain. This makes cosmetic contouring a good choice for those who are anxious about dental visits or worried about the pain associated with getting a perfect smile. Another advantage of this procedure is that it's permanent. Enamel doesn't grow back, so once your teeth have been reshaped to your satisfaction, you won't need to worry about getting the procedure redone in the future.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

The main disadvantage of this procedure is that it can only be used to repair minor cosmetic problems, like teeth that are slightly misshapen or slightly too long. This is because the mean thickness of permanent tooth enamel is only 2.58 millimeters, as published by The Journal of Microscopy Research Technique. Some of this enamel needs to remain in place to protect your teeth, so your dentist is limited in the amount of tooth structure he or she can remove. If your teeth are crooked or very misshapen, this procedure may not be enough to create noticeable results.

Since your enamel will be thinner after this procedure, you'll need to be even more careful about protecting your remaining enamel from abrasive forces. If your enamel becomes worn away, you may experience painful complications like tooth sensitivity. To keep your enamel safe, your dentist may recommend switching to an extra-soft-bristled toothbrush such as the Colgate® 360°® Enamel Health™ Toothbrush. Remember to be gentle while brushing to avoid damaging your enamel.

Is Cosmetic Contouring Right for You?

This procedure is ideal for people with minor cosmetic dental problems. If you're generally happy with your smile but just wish your teeth were a bit shorter or slightly more even in size, this procedure may be the perfect fit for you. On the other hand, if your teeth are very crooked, crowded or misshapen, your dentist may recommend procedures that will give you more dramatic results. More serious cosmetic problems can be repaired with braces, veneers, bonding and other methods. Your dentist can help you choose the procedure that is right for your teeth.

Cosmetic contouring is a fast and easy way to perfect your smile. Ask your dentist if this procedure is a fit for you.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.