What is Cosmetic Contouring?

cosmetic contouring

Dental contouring is the reshaping of the teeth and is considered a cosmetic dental procedure. In our industry, it is know as enameloplasty or odontoplasty . During the procedure, we remove remove small amounts of tooth enamel to improve the shape, surface area, or length of the tooth. Usually, dental contouring is used to fix several common issues including chipped, cracked, or crooked teeth. In some cases, it can be used to manage other dental concerns including tooth overcrowding, minor overlapping, and teeth of unusual sizes and shapes.

How is contouring and reshaping done?

During a quick first exam, it will be determined if the patient is an ideal candidate. Dr. Drake or a staff member will take X-rays to determine the location and size of the tooth’s pulp. If the teeth  fit the criteria, Dr. Drake will schedule the cosmetic treatment. The procedure itself is very quick and takes as little as 30 minutes. This depends on the amount of work needed.

During this dental procedure, the dentist will highlight the areas which need to be adjusted. The top layer of the tooth (enamel) is mostly made up of minerals. There are no nerves or underlying blood vessels and has no feeling in this layer. Therefore, no numbing agents or pain medications are necessary.

While working on the your teeth, the dentist uses several tools. These are a sanding drill with a fine diamond bur or a laser. They are used to slowly and accurately remove small amounts of surface enamel. If fractured or chipped teeth are being worked on, they will be smoothed out and specific edges are squared off or rounded. Abrasive strips are then used between the teeth to shape and smooth the sides. The dentist will then smooth and polish the teeth, after the bite is checked for proper alignment. The results provide the patient with a more uniform appearance and less crowded teeth. Patients can maintain the results by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and maintaining regular dental checkups.

Pros and cons of cosmetic contouring

Anytime a patient undergoes cosmetic dentistry, there are some pros and cons. Patients should consult with a cosmetic dentist who is certified before undergoing this procedure. Below are some pros and cons of tooth cosmetic contouring and reshaping:


  • There is no downtime after the procedure.
  • The average cost is relatively low and insurance may cover a portion of the cost.
  • Tooth contouring is a less invasive method for altering the appearance of the teeth.
  • Removing imperfections can lower the risk of gum disease and decay from tartar and plaque buildup.
  • Tooth contouring is painless.


  • A recurrence of the initial problem may occur with continual grinding of the teeth.
  • Sometimes, teeth might become temporarily sensitive to hot and cold substances.
  • It can put the patient at risk for tooth breakage or decay, if too much enamel is removed.
  • Contouring and reshaping is only used for small changes in teeth.

Today, the team at Drdake.com, shares the details of dental contouring and how it can help you and your smile.