I’m pretty close to getting my braces off. My teeth look pretty straight, but the edges of my teeth look jagged. Is this something my orthodontist can fix?
– Maddy from New York
(See Dr. Hall’s answer below.)
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The procedure is called cosmetic contouring or enameloplasty, and it involves re-shaping the front teeth to a more aesthetic shape. The re-shaping should be confined just to the enamel, and after shaping, the enamel is polished.
While the skills involved aren’t highly demanding, the judgment involved is important. If the shaping needed is minor, many orthodontists will do this routinely to finish their case. If it is more involved, I would have it done elsewhere. I wouldn’t trust this procedure to a general family dentist, but would recommend you go to a dentist who has an impressive smile gallery of a variety of cosmetic procedures, or one who has a credential in cosmetic dentistry from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
The procedure is more demanding than it may look at first glance, which is why I recommend a dentist who is experienced with cosmetic dentistry procedures. When the lengths of the front teeth are changed, it can change your bite which can cause those teeth to move. Experienced cosmetic dentists deal a lot with altering the lengths of the front teeth and should be able to avoid creating this problem.
Here are a couple of samples of cosmetic contouring.
Here is a before photo:
After careful shaping of the maxillary front teeth, this is the attractive result:
In some cases, some composite bonding may be needed to finish the case. That is the situation with the patient pictured below, where the edges of the teeth have been shaped and some composite bonding has been skillfully added to the sides of some of the teeth:
– Dr. David Hall
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.