Countering of Gums and Teeth

Do you have a minor defect in your pearly whites that you’d like to erase? Seeing your dentist about tooth reshaping, also called dental contouring, could be the answer.

“Tooth reshaping and dental contouring are cosmetic dentistry procedures that deal with subtle changes to the teeth,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS, consumer advisor and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “But sometimes little changes can make a big difference.”

Imperfections or problems like slightly overlapping or irregularly shaped teeth, tiny chips in the teeth, or excessively pointy cuspids, can often be fixed with a little tooth reshaping and dental contouring.

What Is Tooth Reshaping?

Tooth reshaping, also called dental contouring, is a cosmetic dentistry technique that removes small amounts of tooth enamel (the outer covering of the tooth) in order to change the shape, length, or surface of one or more teeth. The process is often combined with bonding, a cosmetic dentistry treatment that uses tooth-colored composite material to sculpt and shape the teeth.

Minor Tooth Movement - BeforeMinor Tooth Movement - After

What’s Involved in Tooth Reshaping and Dental Contouring?

Tooth reshaping is performed using dental instruments and abrasion techniques. Dental X-rays may be taken before the reshaping and contouring begin to ensure that your teeth are healthy. Your dentist will then mark your teeth with a pen to highlight areas that need sculpting. A sanding instrument is used to artfully eliminate or minimize imperfections on the surface of the teeth, and sandpaper-like strips may be used to contour the sides of the teeth. Finally, the teeth are smoothed and polished.

Pros and Cons of Tooth Reshaping and Contouring

Although reshaping and contouring are conservative approaches to changing the appearance of your teeth, it’s still important to weigh the pros and cons of these procedures to see if they’re right for you.

Cosmetic tooth reshaping and contouring is a dental procedure to correct crooked, chipped, cracked or even overlapping teeth in just one session, by reshaping the patient’s own teeth. This process involves removal of a very small amount of tooth structure to alter the length, shape or position of your teeth and achieve a more desirable appearance.

Cosmetic Tooth Reshaping and Contouring

Dental contouring is based on subtle changes. A few millimeters of reduction and a few tenths of a millimeter of shaping can have significant results. Chipped or fractured areas are smoothed out, and specific angles or edges can be rounded to alter the way your smile looks. Contouring can create better alignment or a more feminine or masculine appearance. It can even be a substitute for braces under certain circumstances; we also offer Clear Correct, the invisible alternative to braces, for more complex orthodontic needs.

There is no discomfort to the patient and no anesthetic required. Often, this procedure is coordinated with teeth whitening. Cosmetic reshaping of the teeth is a conservative and inexpensive approach that can make a huge difference in the way you feel about your smile in only one office visit!

Cosmetic Contouring - Before Cosmetic Contouring - After


To find out how minor tooth movement and cosmetic contouring can improve your smile