The surface enamel of one or more teeth are removed using various tools and reformed into a more attractive shape. The imperfections and edges of surrounding teeth are smoothened and polished using a polishing tool.
An examination of your teeth is done to determine whether the defects that are present can be corrected effectively using contouring and reshaping. The dentist will also x-ray the teeth to make sure that they are healthy enough to undergo removal of a small amount of the surface enamel.
Tooth contouring and reshaping can be undertaken in one sitting although follow-up visits are necessary. Using various tools, the dentist carefully polishes off small areas of the tooth surface enamel and reforms the tooth into a more attractive shape. The edges of the newly shaped tooth are smoothed and polished, completing the procedure. An "after" photograph is made at this point to compare with the photograph taken prior to treatment so the differences can be easily seen. After contouring, the teeth are more uniform in shape and size making them appears less crowded and eye-catching imperfections are gone. The length of the procedure is dependent on the amount of changes that are being made to the teeth, but can run from under 30 minutes to over an hour.
Since only the surface enamel is removed, there is no pain involved with the procedure. Minor sensitivity to hot and cold for a day or two after the procedure would be there. But this irritation almost disappears, a short time after the procedure. Recovery for almost every patient undergoing tooth contouring or reshaping is instantaneous. Oral consumption is possible soon after the procedure. The removal of the small amount of enamel does not hurt the tooth nor is it replaced, so no healing is involved.
An ideal candidate would have minor imperfections in their teeth such as small chips, minor unevenness, slight overlaps, shallowly pitted surfaces or worn biting areas in their teeth. Other indications for this procedure would be large pointed canine teeth. It has to be noted that reshaping can be done only on healthy teeth. Hence the dentist usually has x-rays taken to ensure there are no problems.
Some characteristics of the teeth that might preclude reshaping are: thin enamel, previous extensive restorations of the tooth or surrounding teeth, recently erupted teeth, teeth having gum structure that would be disturbed by the procedure, or teeth that are still shifting. Some contouring is not recommended if it will adversely affect the patient's bite.