In addition to routine hygiene care, there are times that your dentist may need to perform additional procedures in order to ensure your dental health remains the best that it can be. One of these procedures is enameloplasty, or the removal of enamel from your teeth. While this may seem to be a contradiction to what you have been taught over the years about attempting to retain your enamel, there are times that you should consider having this procedure performed. Understanding what it is and when it should be done may help you decide if it is a good procedure to undertake.
What Is Enameloplasty?
Enameloplasty, odontoplasty, reshaping, stripping, or slenderizing your teeth are all synonyms for the same procedure: your dentist removes small amounts of enamel from the surface of your teeth. This is usually done in order to change the size, shape, or appearance of the tooth. It may be used as a standalone procedure, or may be used in addition to other procedures. Although your dentist may not have called it enameloplasty, if you have had any amount of substantial dental work, you have probably had this procedure performed already.
When Would Enameloplasty Be the Right Fix?
If you have a small chip—As hard as your teeth are, it does not take much to chip a tooth. A chipped tooth can be caused by an accident, an injury, or even biting the wrong thing at the wrong time. You may become more prone to a chipped tooth if your enamel has thinned as a result of the foods you eat and drink, acid reflux disease, medications, your genetics, or other inherited conditions. Once your enamel thins, your tooth is unable to regrow or restore this.
Enameloplasty can be used to repair a small chip in your tooth. Your dentist may choose to smooth down, or contour the area that is chipped prior to applying a dental filling or bonding. Once this material is exposed to an ultraviolet light in order to harden, your tooth may appear to be as good as new.
If you are getting a dental cap or crown—In order for your dentist to place a dental cap or crown onto your affected tooth, they may need to use enameloplasty on that tooth, or on one or more teeth adjacent to the area that they are working on. Removing a small amount of enamel helps to make room for the cap or crown in addition to ensuring that your cap or crown fits snugly onto your tooth.
To change the appearance of your teeth—Advances in cosmetic dentistry have given dentists the ability to change the size, shape, and appearance of their patient's teeth. In addition to using enameloplasty the shorten or slenderize one or more teeth, your dentist may choose to use other procedures to change your teeth's appearance. These include:
- Dental veneers
- Composite bonding
- Teeth whitening
- Dental implants
Your dentist knows that the appearance of your smile can have a significant impact on your psychological and emotional health. Being self-conscious or unhappy about the way your teeth look, affects not only how you perceive yourself, but it can also have an impact on how others perceive you. Fortunately, you do not have to live with a smile you do not like.
It's good to know you have options. Call a local cosmetic dentist and schedule an appointment for a consultation to discuss what you would like to change about your teeth. They will be glad to examine you and create a treatment plan that will give you the smile that you have always desired.