Simple Steps To Better Dental Health
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Featuring consumer information from Columbia School of Dental & Oral Surgery
Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
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space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.What It's Used For.
space placeholder.Preparation.
space placeholder.How It's Done.
space placeholder.Follow-Up.
space placeholder.Risks.
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional.
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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Dental recontouring involves the removal of small amounts of tooth enamel. The purpose is to change the length, shape or surface contours of a tooth. This is a relatively quick and painless procedure. It is also called tooth reshaping or odontoplasty.

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space placeholder.What It's Used For
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Recontouring is one of the most conservative cosmetic procedures. It is an effective way to correct minor imperfections. It can improve overall dental health by removing minor crevices or overlaps where plaque or tartar can build up.

However, recontouring is not a substitute for veneers or bonding. Recontouring probably would not be the best course if your teeth have a major imperfection such as a deep chip or fracture.

You should understand what recontouring can and can't do for you so you have realistic expectations. Your dentist may show you before-and-after photographs of other patients. This will allow you to see exactly what sorts of improvements are possible. Or your dentist may use a computer imaging program to show what your teeth will look like after the procedure is done.

Sometimes, recontouring can't completely fix tooth imperfections. Then your dentist may combine the treatment with bonding. In this procedure, a composite resin is used to repair or restore fractures, chips or cavities.

Recontouring doesn't affect the living pulp or dentin of the tooth. For this reason, it usually can be done without an anesthetic.

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space placeholder.Preparation
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Recontouring can be done only when the overall tooth structure is sound. Your dentist will take X-rays to show the size and location of the tooth's pulp. The pulp is in the center of the tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels. If the tooth has a relatively thin layer of enamel, or if the pulp lies close to the surface, recontouring may not be possible.

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space placeholder.How It's Done
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Your dentist will use a sanding disk or fine diamond burs to remove small amounts of tooth enamel. He or she may use strips of sandpaper to shape and smooth imperfections between teeth. Once the teeth are reshaped properly, your dentist will polish them.

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space placeholder.Follow-Up
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Recontouring doesn't involve the use of artificial materials. Therefore, your teeth don't require special care after the procedure. If you also have bonding done, be aware that the bonding material may pick up stains more easily than enamel. It will need to be redone if that occurs.

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space placeholder.Risks
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Recontouring does not pose any major risks. However, depending on the thickness of your enamel, a tooth that has been recontoured may become sensitive. That's because recontouring removes part of the enamel, which protects the dentin under it.

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space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
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You should not have any problems after the procedure. If your teeth become sensitive enough to bother you, contact your dentist. A thin layer of bonding material or laser desensitization may fix the problem.

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  See Also . . .
Considering Cosmetic Dentistry
Smile Makeovers: Cosmetic Dentistry Today
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