Patient Education » Cosmetic & General Dentistry

Tooth Contouring

Because our smiles are the way we greet the world, even tiny imperfections in our teeth can cause self-consciousness. If you have a front tooth with an uneven edge, a canine that is too long or pointed, a slight overlap between two teeth, or any other minor cosmetic concern, tooth contouring might be the solution you’re looking for.

During the contouring procedure, a small amount of tooth enamel is removed to refine and reshape an imperfect tooth’s appearance and help it fit in with the surrounding teeth. Precision tooth sculpting can eliminate or markedly reduce small flaws such as:

  • Irregular edges
  • Minor chips
  • Unequal tooth length
  • Too-sharp canines
  • Worn or flat edges
  • Slight overlaps between teeth
  • Minor bite problems caused by the teeth touching unevenly

Contouring is typically used to reshape the upper front and canine teeth because these teeth are the most visible. If you are interested in tooth contouring, talk to your dentist about which teeth might benefit, how your enamel can be reshaped, and the changes this will make in the overall appearance and health of your smile.

Once you’ve decided to enhance your smile with contouring, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums. You might need X-rays and/or dental treatment before contouring to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy enough for the procedure.

The procedure itself generally takes about 30 minutes per tooth. Because only the enamel is involved, anesthesia may not be necessary. Using a laser or a specially equipped drill, your dentist will gently remove a very small amount of enamel to refine the shape of the tooth. After this subtle shaping, the tooth will be polished for a smooth, even finish.

You might feel some vibration during the shaping and polishing process, and temporary tooth sensitivity sometimes occurs afterward.

Besides improving the appearance of your teeth, contouring offers additional benefits:

  • Immediate results
  • Minimally invasive treatment
  • Little discomfort
  • Less expensive than other cosmetic options

Tooth contouring is not the answer for every patient. If you have thin enamel, more seriously damaged or irregularly shaped teeth, or require orthodontic treatment, your dentist can provide you with other options to create a beautiful, healthy smile.

But when minor cosmetic flaws make you feel self-conscious about your smile, skilled aesthetic contouring might be exactly what you need. If tiny imperfections in your teeth are having an outsized impact on your confidence, talk to your dentist about tooth contouring.

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