In a recent survey in the UK about the features that men and women found most attractive, the smile came in number two (after personality). Most people consider their smile to be one of their most important assets. Unfortunately, only a lucky few are able to go through life with a perfect smile. From time to time our teeth will need some work to keep us looking attractive. One of the procedures that are commonly available to improve smiles is cosmetic contouring.
Cosmetic contouring is a process that is used to shape teeth. It can be used to deal with a number of problems including slight overbites, long teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, slightly crooked or overcrowded teeth and misshapen teeth. It can also be used to help people who suffer TMJ and bruxism. It is one of the fastest and most affordable dental procedures that are available in the dentist’s office. It involves filing down the tooth to get it back into shape or in line and it can be done in as little as half an hour.
What are the benefits of cosmetic dental contouring?
• For many people, this is their procedure of choice because it is highly affordable. You will only pay a few hundred dollars for a great new smile, whereas other procedures would cost you thousands of dollars.
• It is a painless procedure. If you worry about going to the dentist because of fear of pain, you will be happy to know that this is one procedure that is painless and doesn’t require the use of anesthesia. The dentist will only file down part of the enamel – he will not get anywhere near the root or gum.
• It can be helpful when it comes to avoiding problems such as tartar buildup. When teeth overlap or have an overbite plaque tends to develop in places that are hard to reach. Cosmetic contouring aligns all teeth so that they can easily be cleaned.
• The procedure itself takes a very short time, which is a big plus for busy people who are on a schedule. A lunchtime office to your dentist will see you with a bright, new smile.
What you can expect during cosmetic contouring
The first step is getting a consultation from a proper dentist. They should be experienced in this kind of procedure – don’t go to a dentist who has only done it a few times. The dentist will examine your teeth to determine whether this procedure is right for you. It is important to keep in mind that cosmetic contouring is only useful for correcting minor dental imperfections. The dentist can only file off a very small section of the enamel – your enamel is very important as it is the outer structure of your tooth so not much of it can be taken off. The dentist makes a determination as to whether cosmetic contouring will help solve your problem – if it is severe he will suggest a better solution. You are free to seek a second opinion, but do some research on your own so that you can evaluate the information that you receive.
Once the dentist is happy that cosmetic contouring will get the job down they will use a variety of tools to sand the enamel down. They can include a diamond bur, a sanding disc or a variety of sanding materials. He will sand gradually while shaping on the progress to make sure that they achieve the desired shape.
It is very likely that your dentist will suggest that you have bonding done after your cosmetic contouring procedure. Bonding involves fusing a thin layer of resin over the tooth to hide imperfections, but in this case the resin serves to protect the tooth – sanding it down may weaken it and leave it prone to chips and cracks. A bond over the sanded part will make sure that the enamel is protected. Bonds act and look like veneers except they are cheaper and they take a much shorter time to install. All in all, you can get contouring and bonding done in about an hour.
While tooth contouring doesn’t remove much of the upper layer of the tooth, it can lead to sensitivity. Some people experience it for a few days after the procedure is done, but in others it can last longer. If you experience long lasting sensitivity you should go back to the dentist for a solution. It is likely that over time different cosmetic procedures have worn down your enamel. In such cases the dentist will most likely recommend veneers – they cover exposed nerves and reduce sensitivity.
How to care for your teeth after contouring
The dentist doesn’t do anything much other than shape your teeth during contouring, so you should take care of your teeth properly and maintain good dental hygiene. You need to brush at least twice every day and floss after meals. You should also use mouthwash regularly to avoid bad breath.
Avoid smoking and drinking beverages that may stain your teeth. You should also avoid biting into hard things such as candy and ice chips – it can lead to cracks and chips. If the surface of your teeth feels uneven after the procedure you should go back to the dentist for further smoothing. Make sure to see your dentist for a thorough oral exam every six months.