Lee Dental & Facial: Angela Lee Need just a slight adjustment to your teeth to get that perfect smile you’re after? Then an enameloplasty, considered to be one of the most conservative cosmetic dentistry treatments, may be the perfect procedure for you.

What is an Enameloplasty?

An Enameloplasty (also known as tooth reshaping or odontoplasty) is a cosmetic dentistry procedure where the other layer of your teeth, or enamel, is shaved away to change the size and/or shape of the tooth. It is sometimes also used as preparation for other treatments such as veneers or Lumineers.

Simple Procedure, But Has Its Limits

The procedure, however, has its limits. An enameloplasty will not radically alter the look of your smile the way veneers or implants can, but it can give your tooth (or teeth) a smoother, nicer and more youthful appearance. It is an ideal treatment option for teeth that are slightly misshapen or just a little too big.

Because the tooth enamel is so thin (only around 2.5mm) and the tissue under it is so sensitive, a dentist can only remove a little bit of enamel before it will cause pain and damage your tooth.

The procedure itself is a simple one. It is completed with just one visit to the dentist. Your dentist will first clean and polish your teeth. Next the dentist will file away small portions of the enamel to reshape/resize your teeth. Typically a dentist will use either a small diamond tipped drill or sandpaper to file off a very small bit of enamel until you are both happy with the appearance.

Advantages

There are a few key advantages to having enameloplasty…

Takes just one visit to the dentist… it usually does not even require a follow up visit.
It’s much less expensive than crowns or veneers.
It is completely painless for most patients.
Typically no anesthesia is needed before or during the procedure.
You can get the look of a more natural tooth (teeth) and a healthier mouth without treatments like veneers, crowns or implants that require more maintenance or replacement over the years.

Drawbacks

There are a few drawbacks of enameloplasty that you should be aware of.

First, the removal of enamel is permanent so this procedure cannot be reversed.

Second, because the enamel is so thin, only so much of a tooth can be removed without affecting its sensitivity. For more serious problems with cracks, chips, misalignments, etc., your dentist will have to use other methods to fix your smile such as veneers.

Another drawback is that because the enamel has been thinned, it may be more likely to crack or break because it was thinned during the procedure.

Costs

Enameloplasty is considered a cosmetic dentistry procedure so, unfortunately, most major dental insurance providers will not cover the cost of the procedure. The good news is that enameloplasties do not cost nearly as much as other cosmetic dentistry procedures cost. The cost will vary widely by location and even from dentist to dentist, but figure it will end up somewhere in the $50 – $300 range.