Orthodontics Blog - Dr. Albert Fontaine

Three Things to Consider Before Enamel Shaping

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA-Are your teeth chipped or overlapping? Maybe your canines are pointier than you would like. You find yourself resembling a vampire and you don’t like that, despite the recently trending vampire media.

If you can relate to any of these characteristics, enamel shaping may be the ideal cosmetic solution to your chipped or pointed teeth.

“Enamel shaping can be a great way to correct the look of teeth quickly and fix minor cosmetic issues,” says Dr. Albert Fontaine, a DUNEDIN METAL BRACES provider.

Enamel shaping is a quick cosmetic process that merely involves removing a minimal amount of enamel- no more than 1 to 2 millimeters- to create a smooth, even smile. According to WebMD.com, “To reshape enamel, dentists use the same kind of tools used to polish teeth during a routine cleaning.” The procedure is typically conducted without the use of an anesthetic.

Some orthodontists, including Dr. Fontaine, may recommend interproximal reduction for their patients. Commonly called IPR, interproximal reduction is much like enamel shaping because the orthodontist takes off a minimal amount of outer enamel. IPR is used as an aid to better align the teeth.

“There are some things to consider before scheduling an appointment with an orthodontist or dentist to remove your tooth enamel,” says Dr. Fontaine, a BROOKSVILLE ORTHODONTICS and UNDERBITE CORRECTION specialist. “Once you lose enamel, you can’t get it back.”

Here are other things to consider before any enamel reduction:

Age Isn’t Just a Number
If you’re younger, you may want to postpone enamel shaping until your teeth have fully developed. If the patient’s teeth are still developing, they may run into problems later without the enamel that was removed.

“Dentists should be very conservative with younger patients,” says Dr. Fontaine. “When patients are younger their pulp chambers are larger and have less coverage, less enamel.”

Enamel shaping at a young age can also affect future enamel removal. If a dentist recommends enamel removal later on, he or she may not be aware that enamel was shaped once before, because such a small amount was removed. It is difficult for dentists or orthodontists to assess whether enamel was removed based on the appearance of teeth. Patients who have had their enamel shaped previously should make sure to inform their dentist or orthodontist to reduce the risk of losing more enamel than anticipated.

A loss of enamel can lead to increased sensitivity.

On the flip side, an older patient may have “dark triangles” between their teeth as a result of gum recession. These dark triangles are created by large spaces between your teeth. Your teeth haven’t separated or spaced out; it is the result of receding gums. A quick solution to this problem is to remove some enamel at the point where the adjacent teeth touch- the contact point. Once the enamel is removed at the contact point, an orthodontist can pull the teeth closer together and correct spacing issues.

Enamel Loss is Irreversible
Patients must be sure they want to go through with the procedure because the effects are irreversible.

“Once the enamel is taken away, it doesn’t grow back,” says Dr. Fontaine.

Naturally, we lose enamel over time from drinking acidic drinks like soda or coffee and eating acidic foods like citrus, according to WebMD.com. Patients should be wary of enamel shaping and may want to consider enamel bonding instead if they suffer from enamel erosion.

Enamel bonding fills holes or gaps in teeth caused by enamel erosion. Dentists use layers of resin material to match the tooth during an enamel bonding procedure. Each layer is hardened by a light and then smoothed out with an enamel shaping procedure.

As always, you should talk it over with your dentist or orthodontist before any dental procedure.

Keep Your Guard Up
When you discuss enamel shaping with your dentist or orthodontist, make sure they plan on using a tissue guard during the surgery. The tissue guard will act as a buffer between the teeth and the tool used to shape the enamel.

“Essentially, you will have a miniature rotary power tool with a diamond disc, similar to a circular saw in your mouth,” says Dr. Fontaine. “The guard is necessary because your lip and tongue are just millimeters away.”

It does not matter how experienced a dentist is, they should use a tissue guard. This can save time and pain, despite how simple the procedure is.

Enamel shaping and IPR are simple and routine procedures that can be completed in one visit. BROOKSVILLE ORTHODONTIST, Dr. Fontaine, simply wants you to consider all the factors before choosing to go through an enamel reduction procedure.

If you want to lose the “vampire” look or if you just want to correct a chipped tooth, enamel shaping could be a helpful option for you.

If you find that your teeth may need more serious orthodontic correction for issues such as GAP TEETH or crooked teeth, contact Dr. Fontaine’s office to schedule a consultation.

© 2012 Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.