Enameloplasty, also known as dental recontouring, is one of the most conservative cosmetic treatments that dentists perform. This minimally-invasive procedure involves reshaping of the tooth by removing a small amount of enamel with a view towards creating a more pleasing aesthetic or a more balanced smile overall. Enameloplasty is generally used to shorten teeth slightly, or remove a small overlap between two teeth, and is much simpler for dentists to perform as well as easier for patients. It does not require patients to be sedated and there are no known long-term negative effects from the removal of the small amount of enamel from the tooth.
When to try enameloplasty
Recontouring is especially indicated when individuals have suffered a small chip in a tooth, most often a front tooth, or when there are some bulges in enamel or some other small imperfection in a tooth. Another way enameloplasty is often used is in shortening the length of canines, the longer and pointed “dog teeth” in the front of your mouth. In some individuals, these teeth grow significantly longer than the other teeth, causing them to impact bite patterns as well as causing slight embarrassment. While enameloplasty cannot replace more invasive procedures when the damage to the tooth is significant such as a deep cavity, it can be used in concert with other procedures such as veneers or enamels.
How it works
Your dentist will take several x-rays of your teeth to ensure that the tooth’s pulp is not close enough to the surface to be impacted by the enameloplasty. If your enamel is too thin, or your tooth is not a good candidate for enameloplasty for any other reason, your dentist will likely recommend veneers, which are a good alternative to enameloplasty. Once your dentist is comfortable that the procedure is safe to be performed, your dentist will employ a small diamond-tipped drill or sandpaper to file off a very small bit of enamel. Your dentist will then shape the tooth and polish it to complete the procedure. Since you dentist will not be touching either the pulp of your tooth or any nerves, you generally do not need to be numbed or put to sleep before the procedure is performed, saving both time and money and making the procedure one of the most affordable cosmetic dental procedures available.
There are a few risks associated with enameloplasty, mostly that there will be some sort of future incident that causes the enamel to crack or break because it was thinned through the procedure. Generally, your dentist will warn you of this potential and will stray away from creating a situation that may become worse in the future.