Contouring Isn’t Just a Makeup Technique

Contouring is all the rage right now. There are countless tutorials all over the internet to help perfect the makeup technique that allows us to emphasis certain areas of our face to reshape the way it looks. Of course, as soon as the makeup is wiped off, our faces return to their natural shape. But did you know, there’s a way to change the shape of your teeth, that doesn’t go away after a brush?

An Enameloplasty provides instant cosmetic results 
The procedure is simple. Using a laser or other tools, dentists remove small amounts of enamel from the teeth to reshape them or change the length, making them shorter or more even. The tooth contouring, or enameloplasty as it’s referred to in the dental community, usually takes only 30 minutes or so and ends with a polish to make the teeth really shine. It’s essentially a makeover for your teeth with permanent results said Dr. John Pappas, DDS, cosmetic dentist and founder of Arcadia Dental Arts in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Patients love dental contouring because it’s a simple, fast and pain-free way to improve their smiles,” he said. “For some patients, the benefits go beyond cosmetic. When teeth overlap and we can correct that, it makes cleaning between teeth easier and therefore less plaque builds up, leading to better overall oral health and even preventing long-term decay.”

Who Should Consider Contouring?
This procedure is perfect for patients who are looking for minor adjustments or repairs, according to Pappas. It works best for those with teeth that are just a little crooked, uneven in length or misshapen with pointed or uneven lines. An enameloplasty is also sometimes used as the first step in a larger, more intensive smile makeover.

In order to be a good candidate for the procedure, patients must be healthy. Those with tooth decay, in need of root canals and those with unhealthy gums or who have gum disease in any stage need to address those dental health concerns before they consider the cosmetic side of things, said Pappas.

The Pros and Cons of Dental Contouring
Dental contouring isn’t always the best option for all patients. In most cases, your dentist will want to take x-rays to determine if your teeth are healthy enough for the procedure to begin with. Contouring creates subtle changes in the teeth so if more dramatic results are wanted or needed in order to correct the imperfections, different treatments may be a better choice such as veneers which can drastically change the entire look of each tooth. Of course, one of the pros to contouring is the cost as it’s far more affordable than many other cosmetic procedures like veneers, said Pappas.

“In fact, if the contouring is medically necessary due to an accident or trauma, insurance often covers most or all of the treatment,” he said.

Patients also love contouring because it’s painless. No anesthesia is required because only very small amounts of the surface enamel is removed gently with a laser or sanding-like tool.

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