Cosmetic Dentistry Reshaping Teeth

Do you have an unsightly smile because of cracked, chipped or uneven teeth? Teeth reshaping, also known as dental contouring, can offer you hope for regaining your beautiful smile.

Dental contouring is the process of reshaping damaged teeth to correct imperfections. It is a quick and painless procedure that can correct dental problems by altering the length, shape or position of your teeth.

Dental Contouring Procedure

If you decide to undergo tooth reshaping, your dentist will not need to give you anesthesia. While most dentists are able to perform dental contouring, the best results will come from a dentist who specializes in tooth reshaping.

Depending on how much reshaping you need, the entire procedure may take one to three sessions. For most cases, the procedure will likely go as follows:

  1. The dentist marks your teeth with a pencil to guide the shaping process.
  2. A sanding drill or laser is used to shape the surface of the tooth (or teeth) by gradually removing enamel.
  3. If necessary, abrasive strips are used to sand in between the teeth.
  4. Teeth are smoothed and polished.

Teeth Reshaping for Different Conditions

Although dental contouring is usually done using the same tools and methods described above, the process will vary slightly for different teeth conditions. Some examples include dental contouring for:

  • chipped or cracked teeth: Your dentist will use a laser or sand drill to smooth out the damaged teeth.
  • dark or white spots: Your dentist will use a sand drill to smooth imperfections off teeth so that all your teeth look uniform in color. However, this method will only work if the spots are shallow, as the enamel layer is very thin and can only sustain a small amount of sanding.
  • gaps or missing teeth: Veneers are a common remedy for missing teeth. They are often used in conjunction with dental contouring. After veneers are put into place, additional contouring may be required, and the dentist will use a sand drill to even out your new veneers.
  • teeth that are too close together: Teeth are made smaller using the abrasive strips to sand down areas in between the teeth. This form of dental contouring is an effective way to fix teeth that overlap. In some cases, this reshaping method can be used instead of braces.

Good Candidates for Teeth Reshaping

Dental contouring is perfect for people who have healthy teeth and just need minor adjustments or repair. It is not appropriate for people who have decaying teeth, root canals or periodontal disease.

After your Dental Contouring Procedure

After you undergo teeth reshaping, you will be able to care for your new smile as you did before the procedure. Daily brushing and flossing are very necessary because dental contouring that involves sanding down the teeth makes the enamel thinner and, therefore, makes the teeth more susceptible to damage.

Cost of Dental Contouring

The approximate cost of teeth reshaping is $50 to $350 per tooth. Factors involved in determining the cost of your dental contouring include:

  • how many teeth you need work on
  • how much work each tooth needs
  • if insurance will cover some of the cost
  • which dentist you go to.

Tooth reshaping is a cosmetic procedure, so most dental insurances will not cover it. However, insurance may cover dental contouring if you damage your teeth in an accident.


About Cosmetic Dentistry (2008). Dental Contouring and Reshaping. Retrieved April 12, 2008, from the About Cosmetic Dentistry Web site. (n.d.). Tooth Contouring and Re-shaping. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from the Web site.