Tooth shaving or contouring refers to a dental procedure that slightly reduces the size of a tooth or teeth for cosmetic purposes. Teeth filing is another name for this process. Tooth reshaping can help change the appearance of your tooth or alter the way it sits with other teeth.  

In technical terms, this procedure is called odontoplasty or enameloplasty. It involves shredding away a trivial amount of tooth enamel to give it a new shape.    

Tooth filing is carried out for several reasons – some are related to cosmetics and others for medical purposes.

Cosmetic: If you have a broken or misshapen tooth, your dentist can smooth out the tooth giving it an attractive look. The scalloped borders of teeth (mamelons) are removed to achieve a smoother tooth line.

Health: A dentist may shave your tooth or teeth for bite improvements or to prepare a damaged or chipped tooth for a dental crown.        

 Purpose and benefits of teeth contouring?

After a thorough examination of your teeth and jaws, your doctor will decide how many teeth require reshaping or contouring. 

Filing chipped teeth

A slightly chipped tooth may not be that bad for your oral health, but it can for sure deteriorate your smile and hurt your confidence. Getting your tooth shaved will give it uniform edges, giving you a reason to smile with pleasure.  

Creating more room in the mouth

Bigger teeth or smaller jaws can both be troublesome. It’s also possible that your teeth may grow crowded that can cause a variety of issues such as jaw pain, crooked teeth, and misalignment. Shaving some teeth can create some room and minimize crowding and other related problems.     

Filing teeth for braces

Braces and retainers help correct misaligned or crowded teeth. They shift the teeth into desired positions to reduce crowding and wrongly aligned teeth. For some individuals, the orthodontist may carry out minor tooth or teeth shaving to correctly place the orthodontic devices.    

Placing a dental crown

A crown is placed to cover a damaged tooth or one undergone a root canal procedure. Before placing the crown, the tooth is prepared, which includes trimming. Once your dentist applies the crown, the shaved or slenderized tooth will be hidden, so you don’t need to worry about anything impacting your smile.  

Veneer teeth shaving

The purpose of a veneer is similar to a crown – to hide the flaws of a tooth that has been damaged, stained, or chipped.       

In some cases, a dentist may slightly shave a tooth to make space for a veneer (this is done so the veneer wouldn’t protrude too much.) But the filing for veneer is way lesser than done for a crown. The teeth opposite your veneer may also need a bit of shaving, so they look alike.     

Other than hiding the flawed teeth, veneers can help with the following cosmetic issues:

  • severely discolored teeth that whitening can’t treat
  • diastemas
  • smaller-than-average teeth
  • misshapen teeth
  • teeth with abnormal length

Bite Adjustment

Not everyone has perfect teeth alignment. To check if you have a correct bite, open your mouth and then close it in a way that your top set of teeth rests on the bottom set. Do they perfectly match with each other? If not, you may need treatment for bite adjustment. Your dentist may file down your teeth to avoid the teeth coming on to each other.    

For instance, your canine may be longer than the neighboring teeth, impacting your bite. Teeth that don’t align correctly can disorient your bite. This, in return, can result in several issues such as loose teeth, pain in the head, and sore jaw muscles. 

Treating issues with your bite can eradicate oral problems such as sensitive teeth and toothache. After the treatment, you’ll be able to close your jaw properly. 

Can tooth filing cause pain?

What makes most people anxious about dental procedures is tooth sensitivity and toothaches. The same is with teeth shaving. But we assure you that tooth contouring DOESN’T HURT. During the process, the dentist will only slightly remove tooth enamel and won’t touch tooth pulp or root that causes the pain and other complications. Most patients can even carry on with the procedure without any anesthetic.    

How harmful is teeth shaving?

No. There aren’t any risks involved with teeth shaving, and many count it as a conservative dental procedure. But if your tooth that needs filing is already weak, it may be riskier to perform the procedure. Before shaving a damaged tooth for crown preparation, the dentist will use supporting materials to strengthen the tooth so it can hold up the crown.   

How much does tooth reshaping cost?

Just like other dental procedures, the cost of tooth contouring will differ according to the location and expertise of the dentist. If you’re going for a bit of shaving for a single tooth, expect the cost to range between $50-$300.  

For more extensive procedures such as filing down multiple teeth along with bite adjustment, the cost will increase. You may end up paying anywhere between $650 to $1500 (including the cost of after-care appointments.) 

If you’re worried about the costs, discuss with your dental provider as your dental insurance may cover a good percentage of expenses involved. The coverage with your insurance will depend on the medical purpose of undergoing tooth shaving.

Who is a candidate for tooth filing?

If you’re someone who has a rough-edged tooth or a chipped one and it is highly visible and impacts your smile and confidence, you are a perfect candidate for tooth shaving. 

You may also be a candidate for tooth reshaping if you have issues with your bite. Teeth that don’t fit with each other in correct positions can cause headaches and jaw pain. In the worst case, non-fitting teeth can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.   

Risks of at-home teeth shaving

 A lot of people turn to the internet for videos that claim successful shaving of teeth using a sandpaper or nail file. If you just have a minor chip, you may want to give it a go. But please don’t do it. 

It’s not something impossible but highly risky and not at all recommended by dental experts. You should always see your dentist for even minor oral issues. While filing down your teeth at home, you may end up damaging your tooth enamel that can cause a lot of other problems. So it’s better to avoid such DIYselfers.    

Did you know that your tooth enamel cannot regrow? That means that any incurred damage to the enamel is irreversible. Teeth shaving on your own is dangerous – you can cause permanent damage to your teeth and mouth, causing pain and sensitivity. Wearing down the enamel makes your teeth more prone to cavities and other oral issues.  

For good oral and overall health, communicate with your providers. Don’t be shy about bringing your chipped teeth to your dentist for shaving. Whether you need contouring for cosmetic or medical purposes, your dentist will suggest the best course of treatment.   

 The process of shaving down a tooth can have a lot of benefits. It can make your smile appear more even, and also improve the health of your mouth and alleviate pain in your head and neck. Talk to a dentist if you think this process could help you so you can explore your options.

Summing up

Tooth shaving has several benefits, including improved oral health, a prettier smile, and relief from head and neck pain. Consult your nearest dentist for the teeth reshaping process. To schedule an appointment with Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics, call one of our locations