Teeth contouring, reshaping and shaving

Lots of people dislike the shape of their teeth and have a range of questions about tooth reshaping … So, in this blog post we will look at a range of cosmetic dental procedures all designed to help reshape and re-contour your teeth.

Can you file your teeth

Whilst technically the answer is yes, practically the recommendation is no! There are a range of reasons why you should NOT file your teeth yourself:

  • Your teeth are in fine balance with one another when they meet, this is known as an occlusion. The tips of all your teeth are designed to slide in a particular arc from left to right when you move your jaw, adjusting the tips of teeth can adjust this arc and result in a malocclusion. Malocclusion can then lead to jaw joint pain & headaches.
  • Your teeth will wear away naturally over time, this occurs even when the teeth are very smooth like they are naturally. If you try to file your teeth at home you are almost certainly going to leave the surface rough. This will then result in rapid tooth wear of the opposing tooth, this tooth where can then result in painful sensitivity or additional malocclusion.
  • The outer layer of your tooth is very hard (the enamel), not far beneath this is the softer dentine. If the dentine is exposed rapid tooth wear will occur as well is painful sensitivity. If you file your teeth at home you may accidentally go through the enamel and expose the dentine underneath.
  • You may slip and cut your gums or cheek

A dentist will be fully aware of how your teeth work together in a balanced and functional occlusion, they will also be able to smooth and polish teeth after they have been trained in the dental practice. A dentist will also be able to see if dentine is likely to be exposed and offer treatments if it is. None of this is possible at home!

Do orthodontist file teeth after braces

Sometimes tooth contouring is offered in conjunction with braces. This can be to:

  1. Make wide crooked teeth look more narrow and therefore create more space to straighten them out.
  2. Correct rough edges on front teeth or reduce the tip of pointed canine teeth.

If the tooth filing is being offered to make more space to straighten crooked teeth then this is done before braces, if it is done for cosmetic reasons then it may be offered after braces.

Tooth contouring canines

Lots of people dislike the point on the canine tooth and ask for this to be contoured or shaved off.

pointed canine

This should always be done by dentist to ensure that the occlusion (the way the teeth bite together) is not affected. Sometimes, rather than removing the point of the canine tooth, dental bonding or a porcelain veneer can be used to build up the edges, maintaining the length of the tooth but making it look less pointed.

Dental contouring pros and cons

Pros: Happier with your smile, feeling more confident, and improved look and appearance.

Cons: Healthy tooth structure is removed which can lead to malocclusion or unnecessary tooth wear if not properly managed. Dental contouring is also usually pain-free as only a small amount of tooth tissue is removed.

Other ways to improve your smile, dental bonding, veneers

Shaving or re-contouring your teeth isn’t always the only way to create a more beautiful smile.

Re-contouring is a reductive technique, in other words it involves REMOVING areas of your tooth. There are also ADDITIVE techniques to change your smile.

Very often these additive techniques are used in conjunction with reductive techniques. Some your dentist will remove enough tooth structure to enable them to reshape the tooth in the correct way, they will then use and additive technique to rebuild, reshape and redesign the tooth exactly the way you want it.

Dental bonding

Bonding may involve some reduction of the underlying tooth although it is preferred to maintain as much natural tooth structure as possible. Bonding then involves your dentist placing some tooth coloured resin over the surface of your tooth to rebuild, reshape and redesign.

It is bonded to your tooth using a special technique which involves acid etching the surface of the tooth to create a micro porous surface into which the dentine bonding can grip.

Bonding is very often used in conjunction with teeth whitening, the whitening brightens all of the teeth and then the bonding is matched to this new white to colour and reshapes the teeth.

Dental Veneers

Veneers almost always involve some form of reduction, this is to ensure that the veneer has a nice finishing line where it meets the tooth, this ensures the veneer doesn’t leak letting in nasty bacteria.

Dental veneers give the most flexibility in designing a new smile as they can be made to cover up dark teeth as well as reshape teeth. Veneers are often used in conjunction with other cosmetic dentistry procedures to design a new smile.