What is enamel reshaping (enameloplasty)?
Enamel reshaping is the reshaping and contouring of the enamel (outer layer) of the teeth to remove sharp edges and uneven characteristics of the teeth, and to give the illusion that the teeth are straighter than they really are. This reshaping of the tooth’s enamel lends to an improvement of the overall appearance of a smile, correcting the flaws that catch one’s eye, such as a tooth that is longer then the others, or an obvious overlapping or rotation of the teeth due to crowding. Enamel reshaping is a conservative process that does not require anesthesia, and is relatively quick and painless. It is a treatment that is often combined with composite bonding to achieve desired results.
Is enamel reshaping harmful to the teeth?
Enamel reshaping is a very conservative and simple cosmetic procedure, but does remove some of your tooth’s enamel, which cannot be replaced. In many respects, enamel reshaping, when combined with teeth whitening and conservative bonding, can be the fastest, least invasive, and least expensive was to have a smile makeover. Granted not everyone is a candidate for this procedure, and many will require a more comprehensive smile makeover to achieve their goals (such as veneers, braces, implants, crown and bridge work, etc.) Often times, enamel reshaping is the intermediary step before committing to a full smile makeover.
Is everyone a candidate for enamel reshaping?
While many people may be able to benefit from some degree of enamel reshaping, careful case selection is necessary to determine if this procedure is viable for the patient. Many times enamel reshaping is indicated for those people who want to soften the vampire-like points of their canines, or soften and round off sharp, pointy edges, or shorten teeth that appear too long. Very often, as people age, their teeth start to accumulate little chips and wear facets, which eventually cause the teeth to appear less attractive and misshaped. Selective reshaping of the enamel can help to create a more youthful and harmonious smile, but not everyone is a candidate. Individuals with existing restorations or very sensitive teeth may not be good candidates for this. If someone’s tooth wear is due to teeth grinding (bruxism), the a night guard appliance would be indicated to prevent further wear, especially after reshaping the enamel. Additionally, if you are planning on having braces, it is recommended not to do any enamel reshaping beforehand, as the areas of the enamel that were modified may become more obvious once the teeth are more perfectly straight. If there are still some minor imperfections or sharp edges after orthodontics, then enamel reshaping may be indicated.
Do teeth become more sensitive after enamel reshaping?
While most people will have little to no sensitivity from enamel reshaping, there are some whose teeth are very hypersensitive as a result of excessive wear or nerves that are closer to the surface. Your dentist should review your x-rays and assess your level of sensitivity before modifying your enamel. When the outer layer of enamel is reduced, the underlying enamel, once subjected to the oral environment, will function as the new outer layer. Once polished and treated with fluoride, the tooth will have less of a chance of becoming sensitive and will not become any more prone to developing cavities.