What is Odontoplasty

When you smile, you notice small imperfections. You wonder whether you could reduce the size or shape of your teeth to get the perfect smile you always desired.

From the past few years, people have shown their concerns about their dental aesthetics. They are worried about the alignment, shape or color of their teeth.

Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, veneers, braces have been performed to correct your displeasing smile. One such procedure performed to correct your smile is Odontoplasty or tooth recontouring.

The procedure is usually done to improve the appearance by creating more harmony or balance in the look of your smile.

In this article, you will find out more about tooth recontouring, the procedure involved and to see if this treatment is right for you or not.

About Odontoplasty

Odontoplasty is a very conservative cosmetic procedure performed by reshaping of the tooth by removing small amounts of enamel.

It is also called tooth recontouring, reshaping, odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing.

The process, often combined with bonding, a cosmetic treatment that uses tooth-colored composite material to sculpt and shape the teeth.

When teeth are worn flat, the corners of the tooth can be rounded to make it look younger (less worn).

If the edges have tiny chips, sometimes just leveling it out can make a huge aesthetic improvement.

Who should consider odontoplasty?

Recontouring is an effective method for the correction of minor imperfections, such as:

  • Small chips at the edges of the tooth
  • Smoothing out pits or grooves in a tooth’s enamel
  • Adjusting slight irregularities of the tooth caused by too many or uneven teeth
  • Adjusting the length of the teeth.
  • Correcting “pointy” teeth

What does recontouring Involve?

Initial examination

To determine if you are an appropriate candidate for tooth recontouring, your dentist may first take an X-ray of your teeth to see the size and location of the tooth’s pulp.

If the enamel layer is too thin or the pulp lies too close to the tooth’s surface, recontouring may not be possible, and your dentist might consider procedures such as bonding or veneers.

The procedure

At your dental appointment, your dentist will use a fine diamond bur or a sanding disc to remove small amounts of tooth enamel.

To reach the imperfections between teeth, your dentist may use a strip of sandpaper to smooth and shape the sides. Once shaped, your dentist finishes the process by polishing your tooth or teeth.

Since recontouring does not affect the tooth’s pulp, an anesthetic administration is not usually required.

Follow up

An odontoplasty procedure, not combined with other cosmetic procedures (such as bonding or veneer placement) does not require follow-up.

What are the benefits?

One of the major benefits of this treatment is immediate results.

A single sitting is enough to finish the entire procedure and restore your smile. Other benefits include:

  • Painless – Because only surface enamel gets removed in tooth contouring, there’s generally no discomfort during the process, and no anesthesia is required.
  • Improves the health of teeth – Removing minor overlaps and other imperfections where tartar and plaque can build up lowers your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. (1)
  • Possible substitute for braces – In some situations, tooth reshaping and dental contouring can substitute for braces since they make teeth look a little straighter and eliminate minor overlapping.
  • Less expensive – This is an inexpensive way to improve the look of your teeth. The procedure costs depend on how much work is needed. It re relatively less costly than crowns and veneers

What are the disadvantages?

Unlike some cosmetic dentistry treatments, odontoplasty will not dramatically change the look of your smile or make your teeth look whiter.

For a more noticeable smile makeover, you may want to go with veneers.  Dental contouring only eliminates small imperfections, whereas veneers cover the entire front surface of the teeth, giving them a completely new look.

Depending on the amount of enamel removal during tooth reshaping and dental contouring, teeth can become sensitive afterward. And if too much enamel gets removed, you can be at risk for tooth breakage.

Despite your tooth enamel’s inherent strength, this procedure could leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and give them a tendency to wear down at a faster rate.

Other alternatives

There are a few alternative treatments that precede or succeed the odontoplasty procedure.

For veneers

In most cases, teeth reshaping takes place for smile enhancement. (2)

In situations where fundamental reshaping might not be suitable, veneers may be bonded to the teeth to enhance the natural appearance.

Veneers are also applied to strengthen teeth alignment.

For crown lengthening

Your dentist may perform an odontoplasty as part of a crown lengthening. (3)

The procedure of crown lengthening, performed by a periodontist, is a method used to expose the tooth by removing bone, gum or both surgically.

After administration of local anesthetic, the periodontist will expose the roots and the surrounding bone by making cuts in the gums.

In a few cases, the bone around the roots of the tooth will need to be removed, as well. The gums are then washed, sterilized and sutured together in preparation for the final crown placement.

To avoid swelling, ice your face for the first few hours after surgery.

Your dentist may prescribe pain relievers for a few days.

Schedule a follow-up in seven to ten days for removal of stitches. After this, your gums will need three months of healing before the final crown placement.

Are there any side effects?

Odontoplasty is a painless procedure. As long as your dentist performs the process correctly, there are no side effects.

Takeaway

Odontoplasty is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth’s length, shape, or surface.

It is the most conservative cosmetic treatment. It is also a quick and painless procedure whose results are visible immediately.

A final consideration to perform odontoplasty involves the eventual thickness of the remaining enamel after tooth contouring is complete.

If there is a small defect in your smile that always draws your eye in the mirror, then odontoplasty may be the answer for you!