Do you have chipped, jagged, sharp and pointy or crowded teeth? Enameloplasty is a very conservative, quick and inexpensive procedure that can give you immediate results. Now there are a number of ways to improve a person’s smile without long term measures like braces, or invasive procedures. While some patients may be candidates for more involved dental care, many others can enjoy the cosmetic improvements that are part of a less invasive care plan that produce similar visible changes comparable to standard procedures. The teeth can undergo smile enhancement through enamel reshaping. Dr. Lazare of Marc Lazare, D.D.S., M.A.G.D. specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry in New York, NY and is an expert in enamel reshaping, or enameloplasty, as it is called in the dental medicine field.
The Fundamentals of Tooth Enamel
Each tooth is composed of different layers, and the outermost layer is the enamel. The inner structure of the tooth is composed of a softer material, so the enamel serves as its protection. It is made of a hard, mineralized material that gives the tooth its characteristics, like size, shape, and sometimes color. The enamel does not contain living cells, so once it has been damaged the results are irreparable without dental intervention as the body will not regenerate enamel. It is important for the enamel to remain intact for a number of reasons, the most important being to prevent the formation of cavities.
What is Enameloplasty?
The reshaping of tooth enamel is an in-office procedure that is performed to change the look of one or more teeth. The procedure requires Dr. Lazare to make very conservative changes to the teeth which includes selectively removing only some of the enamel by buffing it into a more desirable shape. While this material is important to dental health, the changes are often so minimal that they do not affect the function of the tooth’s hard outer covering. In cases that require greater changes to the enamel, or repair of the enamel, composite tooth bonding can effectively replace the enamel. Tooth bonding is used to fill cavities and create other long term changes to the structure of the tooth, which is camouflaged well as it comes in various natural tooth shades.
Enameloplasty can correct a number of smile detractors, including a longer tooth, sharp, pointy canines, or strangely shaped teeth, and can provide the illusion that the teeth are straighter than they really are by simply smoothing out the sharp edges, or the rough-appearing ends of the teeth. Even teeth crowding can be addressed through enameloplasty. Enamel reshaping is a cosmetic procedure that can provide long term results, or short term enhancements.
How is Enamel Reshaping Performed?
Generally, patients do not require any type of local anesthetic or sedation as the enamel reshaping process is very simple. Performed in Dr. Lazare’s New York City office, the procedure can often be combined with other office visits, such as a semi-annual cleaning. Dr. Lazare may provide the patient with a mirror so they can explain what improvements they seek to enhance their smile. He may create markings on the teeth, and will various discs and tools and polisher with different grits to first reshape the enamel and then polish the area into a smooth finish.
Procedures Performed Alongside Enamel Reshaping
Enameloplasty can enhance any smile makeover and it can be performed alone or in addition to other cosmetic procedures, such as bonding, to perform conservative, inexpensive smile makeovers. Teeth whitening and tooth bonding are great additions to an enamel reshaping treatments. The teeth can first be whitened, then undergo a custom shaping session. Essentially, enamel reshaping and tooth bonding are opposite procedures, where Dr. Lazare removes natural material in the former and adds tooth colored bonding to the tooth in the latter. When teeth are misaligned, it may be necessary to perform both steps to enhance the entire smile.
Patients can bleach their teeth at home with custom supplies provided by Dr. Lazare’s office, or opt for an in-office whitening appointment. During home treatment, custom-fitting trays can be used during the day or can be worn at night, both types of trays are filled with a whitening solution. This process can be repeated daily for days, a couple weeks, or for as long as Dr. Lazare suggests, depending on the patient’s tolerance and results.
A professional teeth whitening treatment at Dr. Lazares’s NYC practice is performed with the Philips Zoom whitening system, utilizing a special light device, and will provide faster results than the standard at-home process. The procedure lasts about an hour and will lighten the teeth an average of 8 shades lighter, but can reach a full 15 shades in some patients. It is important to note that dental work such as teeth that have undergone root canals, crowns, composite fillings, veneers, and porcelain work will not change in color with either treatment.
Composite Tooth Bonding
Another complementary procedure that can be performed during a sitting for enamel reshaping is tooth bonding. When a patient has a chipped tooth, gaps in their teeth, or requires additional tooth-like material added to the tooth, composite bonding is a great solution. Bonding can be performed on the tooth once is has been prepared. The resin bonding material is added where needed, cured, and buffed for a smooth finish. Dr. Lazare will use appropriately-colored bonding for an undetectable transition between natural and synthetic material, which is why teeth whitening should be the first step in a noninvasive smile makeover.
Is Enamel Reshaping Painful?
Because Dr. Lazare takes measures to perform very conservative change and to preserve as much enamel as possible, this procedure should not cause a patient any discomfort. Often before permanently changing the tooth structure in any way, Dr. Lazare will ensure he has up-to-date X-ray images on file to see any compromised parts of the teeth, or to catalogue where nerves may be closer to the tooth’s surface and address any sensitivity issues prior to treatment. When the enamel of the tooth is reduced, the underlying enamel then serves as the outer tooth covering. While this material was not previously exposed to the oral environment, it will be polished and fluoride-treated to ward off sensitivity. This new outer layer will be no more cavity prone than the previous outer layer.
Do Enamel Reshaping Patients Need to Add Additional Care to their Routines?
Generally, it is not necessary for patients who have undergone a minor tooth contouring procedure to perform additional steps to maintain their oral health. Daily brushing and flossing and attending regular appointments with Dr. Lazare will help ensure long-lasting and healthy teeth. If patients underwent tooth whitening as part of their care plan, it may be suggested that they refrain from eating or drinking foods that are prone to staining the teeth, as well as smoking or chewing tobacco. If any tooth sensitivity occurs, patients can use special toothpaste until the side effects subside. In patients who underwent composite bonding alongside enamel reshaping, Dr. Lazare may suggest they modify habits that can negatively impact the finishing resin, like chewing on very hard items or foods.
Is Enamel Reshaping Right for You?
Dr. Lazare’s patients in good oral health may be eligible to undergo cosmetic tooth reshaping. These individuals should have recent X-rays of the teeth captured, without any major oral health issues that would prevent the procedure. Patients should also inform Dr. Lazare of their future plans for structural or cosmetic work. If one plans to undergo dental, endodontic, and orthodontic work, the treatments should be performed in an appropriate order as to not compromise results from one another or create the need for additional care. Enamel reshaping can immediately improve the look of misaligned and overcrowded teeth, those with minor chips or ridged surfaces, and elongated teeth as well as those that could benefit from a new shape. Often, as people age their teeth show signs of wear, but they may also have compromised enamel. Each patient’s oral health will first be assessed to ensure this is the most beneficial procedure for them to undergo.
Patients who have existing restorations, tooth sensitivity, or soft enamel with wear may be candidates for other procedures, but are not best suited for enamel reshaping. Tooth grinding may also preclude one from this kind of treatment as the natural wear of the teeth combined with the cosmetic wear may speed the progression of wear. Lastly, those who plan to have braces should postpone any cosmetic changes until after their treatment has been completed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Enamel Reshaping
What are the benefits of undergoing tooth contouring?
There are many reasons why a patient may opt for this non-invasive cosmetic treatment. The conservative approach will not harm the teeth or lessen their function, and the smile will be immediately improved. Changes are permanent, and the restoration can be performed alongside other procedures – for dental health or aesthetics – during the same office visit.
Does enamel reshaping require anesthesia?
Dr. Lazare takes precautions to ensure a painless treatment for his patients, but typically numbing is not necessary. Generally, the enamel is buffed away at the biting edge or sides of the teeth, and will not affect the internal nerve structure. In cases of existing or potential sensitivity, Dr. Lazare can provide numbing or pain medications on an as-needed basis.
Can “vampire fangs” (sharp canine teeth) be filed into a more aesthetically pleasing shape?
Yes, these teeth can undergo the same type of enamel reshaping as others to soften the points at the ends of the teeth. This can help the teeth blend better with others in the mouth and create a more uniform length.
What is the difference between enamel reshaping and composite tooth bonding?
The two techniques require Dr. Lazare to perform opposite functions: during enamel shaping, a small amount of existing tooth enamel is removed from the tooth, and during bonding, a synthetic resin is added to the tooth. Often, these procedures are performed together to offer a more complete aesthetic restoration. Neither procedure is considered invasive.
New York’s Dr. Marc Lazare, D.D.S, M.A.G.D.
Upper East Side general and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Lazare’s practice is dedicated to improving both the health and happiness of his patients. He focuses on the science of dental medicine, and the art of cosmetic enhancement to provide quality results and long term care solutions. Dr. Lazare is involved with a wide demographic of people. Hailed as “Dentist to the Stars,” the dentist sees patients from every background, and runs a charity with his family at www.Kare2Share.org. Dr. Lazare seeks to continually inform patients and improve technology in the field of dentistry. He created the Dental Expert, Pediatric Dental Expert and Dental Clinic apps for better and has also developed industry instruments. With more than two decades of experience, Dr. Lazare is New York City’s go-to dentist for general and cosmetic needs.