Washington Dental has been in the frontline helping people in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, achieve a flawless smile. A beautiful smile means a lot to many people, especially when going for interviews, dates, or weddings. One of the ways of realizing the perfect smile is by cosmetic contouring. We assess your teeth condition and reshape it by eliminating the part that makes your smile less alluring. Also, we provide instructions on how to care for the teeth to prevent future problems.

What is Cosmetic Contouring?

A less flattering smile can make you feel insecure. Fortunately, the modern-day cosmetic dentistry can help you attain the smile of your dream. Cosmetic contouring also referred to as tooth recontouring, tooth reshaping, Odontoplasty, or Enameloplasty, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that involves the removal of small enamel on the layer of a tooth to adjust the length or shape of your teeth. The view of the treatment is to create a more appealing and balanced smile in general. It is also a preventive measure against the chipped tooth. The procedure is less invasive, affordable, and usually completed with a single visit to the dentist. And because there are no nerves on the enamel of your tooth, the treatment doesn’t require any sedation, and there are no known long-term adverse effects of the procedure because it involves the removal of little enamel.  

Some of the problems rectifiable using the procedure include:

  • Minor chips
  • Uneven tooth length
  • Slight overlaps
  • Flattened or pointy tooth edges
  • Minor bite problems

By rounding and squaring the sides of your teeth, cosmetic contouring can give you the feminine or masculine smile that you have wished to achieve.

What Does Cosmetic Contouring Entail?

Cosmetic contouring is a conservative procedure that dentists and general dentists prefer because of its simplicity. If you are a candidate for the process, the work will be completed in your first meeting with the dentist.

First, the dentist will assess your teeth and give a diagnosis of how the reshaping of the teeth will help you attain your goal of having a beautiful smile. Doing so will ensure that you don’t only accomplish a flawless smile but also a healthy one.

Take note that if you are undergoing cosmetic contouring to prevent gum diseases, an x-ray may be necessary to isolate and protect the inner tissue of your pulp that is highly sensitive. But in most cases, the treatment involves the removal of the outer layer of the enamel.

When the removal of this hard outer cover of your tooth begins, you are going to experience some vibration. During this time, the tooth is being sculpted and smoothened by polishing to remove stains, tartar build-up, and plaque.  Dentists usually use a sanding drill and a fine diamond-tipped drill for the procedure.

Remember, as mentioned earlier, because the treatment won’t be touching your pulp or nerves, no sedation or numbing is necessary. The procedure will take at most 30 minutes, and you don’t have to wait for days or weeks to see the result. Immediately the process is completed; by looking at the mirror, the results are visible.

Keep in mind that cosmetic contouring is used in conjunction with other cosmetic dentistry procedures like tooth whitening, veneers, and cosmetic bonding.

Side Effects of the Treatment

The advantage of this procedure is that there is no recovery time. Recovery is instantaneous in this process, which means you can get back to your old habits right away. You should not expect any side effects because only small amounts of the hard outer layer of your teeth are removed.

But you are likely to feel slight changes on the surface, length, shape, or size of the teeth. When you take or consume something with extremely high or low temperatures, you will feel slight sensitivity, but it’s not going to last long.

It’s also essential to note that the enamel layer of your tooth has no living cells. This means that once the extraction of the unwanted enamel is complete, the effects will be permanent because it will not grow back or repair itself.


After cosmetic contouring, it’s advisable to stay away from food and drinks like coffee, tea, and tobacco because they might stain your teeth. You should also brush and floss your teeth regularly and maintain regular visits to a dentist. Proper care for your teeth will prevent things like stains and chips, which means you might need to undergo the procedure again for the rest of your life.

What are the Risks of Cosmetic Contouring?

The significant risk of cosmetic contouring is that it thins the enamel. A future incident like a slip and fall can result in cracking or breaking of the teeth. In most cases, the dentist to perform the procedure will warn you of these risks and will avoid the treatment if there is a possibility it will cause future problems. This is the reason why people with thin enamel are discouraged from undertaking the procedure.

Who Should Consider Cosmetic Dentistry?

Anyone can be a perfect candidate for this procedure if you have minor teeth imperfections and you are looking for a healthier and more pulsating smile. Some of the people that may want to consider the treatment include those with minor:

  • Cracked or fractured tooth
  • Pits and grooves in the enamel
  • Overlapping
  • Chips
  • Unevenness

But it should be noted that although the procedure is fit for almost everyone, you must have a fair amount of enamel to undergo the treatment. If you don’t have a requisite outer covering of the tooth, once large amounts of the enamel are removed from the teeth, it becomes weak. Besides, people with significant teeth issues will need a combination of cosmetic contours and other procedures like veneers and other restorative options.

Before deciding to proceed with the treatment, the dentist will listen to your oral needs carefully and then suggest the right procedure for you.

Benefits of Cosmetic Contouring

Tooth contouring has a lot of benefits to the dental patient. These benefits include:

Enhances Symmetry

As stated earlier, cosmetic contouring is used to balance a smile when you have uneven teeth lengths. The process improves smile balancing by reshaping the tooth to look balanced. The teeth that look longer than others are reshaped through enamel removal until they attain a standard length, thus creating a uniform smile.


Compared to other cosmetic dentistry procedures like veneers and braces, cosmetic contouring is cost-effective. People who opt for the treatment get to save many because you will not be paying for anesthetic. Additionally, it takes less than 30 minutes to complete, which makes it a simple procedure for dentists hence the reason for the low rates.

Correct any Overlapping Teeth

Cosmetic contouring should correct minor overbites. So, if you have been having problems eating or have developed other dental problems because of overbites, with tooth contouring, the issue can be corrected, and you will say goodbye to oral conditions that stem from overlapping.

The Results are Instantaneous

There is no waiting for weeks or months for the outcome of the treatment to be visible. Other cosmetic procedures require more than two visits to the dentist to accomplish a beautiful smile. But with cosmetic dentistry, after thirty minutes, you will have symmetrical teeth and a flawless smile.

Saves Time

Unlike other procedures that are long and usually require more than one appointment, cosmetic contouring requires a single meeting, and the process can take a maximum of half an hour to be complete.


Cosmetic dentistry involves the removal of enamel, which is made up of dead cells and has no nerves. Also, dentists are always gentle with their dental equipment, which makes the process painless and a comfortable one. Other cosmetic dentistry procedures like veneers or braces are painful, thus the reason experts administer esthetics.

Improves Overall Oral Health

Cosmetic contouring helps treat problems which, if left alone, may result in severe oral conditions. It prevents the build-up of tartar and plaque, which are significant causes of gum disease. By removing the tartar and plaque through this procedure, you prevent these conditions, thus improving your general dental health.

Other benefits of the treatment are that you get to accomplish your dream smile. Besides, if you are tired of chipped or crooked teeth, the procedure is right for you.

If you realize the benefits of this procedure, then you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to Washington Dental so that they can address your problem.

Take note that the procedure has its downside. One of the disadvantages is that you risk having weak teeth if too much of the enamel is removed. In case your tooth is damaged beyond repair, the treatment might not save it. The other downside of the process is that it causes tooth sensitivity, and your teeth are prone to damage if you are used to consuming hard foods or if you are a heavy bitter.

Insurance Coverage

Cosmetic contouring is primarily a cosmetic procedure. For this reason, insurance policy carriers don’t provide coverage for the treatment because they consider it elective. Although this is the case, you should always consult with your policy carrier to find out other options for payment that you may explore.

A procedure will be termed as cosmetic or elective if it exists to improve the esthetics or smile or a patient solely, the underlying tooth or tissue isn’t injured, decayed, or impaired, and there is no medical reason for changing the shape of the tooth or for performing the procedure. Insurers might, however, cover tooth contouring in case the reshaping is necessary after an accident or injury on a tooth.

Insurers, on the other hand, may be willing to cover some restorative procedures. They provide coverage if the treatment is necessary due to illness or decay, accident or injury, or if the process is for other reasons other than esthetics.

Take note that most people who undergo restorative procedures have a goal in mind of having healthy and functional teeth. At the same time, they are looking to improve their smile. For this reason, when picking a restorative procedure, get a dentist that will provide the treatment but with the outcome in mind.

The majority of dentists out there are working with insurers so that they can provide coverage for cosmetic dentistry procedures to ease the costs for those willing to undertake these procedures. Therefore, contact your insurer to find out if they cover cosmetic contouring.

What is the Cost of Cosmetic Contouring?

Cosmetic contouring is the most cost-effective cosmetic dentistry procedure. The procedure is simple because it only involves removing the unwanted area of the enamel using simple equipment like sanding drills. For this reason, the cost of the treatment ranges from 50 to 300 dollars for a single tooth.

But generally, costs differ from one cosmetic dentist to another. Therefore, if you are undergoing the treatment, it is recommended that you explore different prices in the market. That way, you will pick a dentist who charges reasonable rates and one whose quality of services is not compromised.

What Other Procedures are Performed in Conjunction with Cosmetic Contouring?

Cosmetic contouring is not performed as a substitute for braces. However, after braces have been removed, tooth contouring can be delivered to fix minor problems that might be on the teeth. But often, the procedure can be combined with other cosmetic procedures like tooth whitening, bonding, and veneers. These procedures are further discussed below.

  1. Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure in California. There are multiple whitening options for everyone, depending on their time frame, budget, and temperament. You can opt for the treatment to be performed in a dentist’s office, cosmetic spa, or get bleaching kits over the counter for home use.

If you opt for tooth whitening, you are going to see a significant change in your smile. Dentists combine cosmetic contouring and teeth whitening, where the teeth that require whitening or bleaching have some unwanted areas that affect the beauty of your smile. Cosmetic contouring can also be used in place of tooth whitening because it removes stains, tartar, and plaque, thus giving you white teeth.

A lot of people confuse tooth whitening with bleaching. However, the two are different because bleaching involves whitening the tooth beyond its natural color. Whitening, on the other hand, restores the tooth surface by removing debris and stains from the tooth.

Tooth whitening, just like cosmetic contouring, has its risks. After the procedure, you are likely to feel some irritation on the gums. Bleaching also increases the sensitivity to temperature and touch. Sensitivity is common for patients who opt for in-office tooth whitening because dentists tend to use a lot of bleaching agents. The other risk is that you may end up with technicolor teeth because the bleach used might whiten the teeth beyond their natural color.

  1. Veneers

Dental veneers are thin shells of tooth-colored composite cemented over the outer layer of your teeth to repair dental issues like chips, cracks, uneven tooth alignment, and tooth discoloration. Just like cosmetic contouring, veneers help align and shape the teeth for a perfect smile. With that said, cosmetic contouring may be used as a substitute or in conjunction with veneers for a better outcome.

If you have worn out enamel, wearing down teeth, discoloration, or uneven teeth, dental veneers are your answer. Dentists may combine veneers with teeth whitening too in case the teeth that require dental veneers are discolored.

  1. Tooth Bonding

Teeth bonding involves attaching white or natural-looking materials like composite on the chips, cavities, cracks, or worn-down edges of your teeth. But before the placing of composite material on the teeth, they must be prepared first. One of the procedures dentists conduct before bonding is cosmetic contouring, which involves teeth reshaping. Dentists recommend tooth bonding as an esthetic solution for minor misalignment or to close gaps between teeth.

Where some teeth are longer than others or have uneven shape and size, dentists will recommend bonding. But the procedure will be used in conjunction with cosmetic contouring to help in tooth reshaping.

Finding the Right Cosmetic Contouring Service

Cosmetic contouring is a procedure that can be performed by a dentist or general dentist. But not all these professionals are equal. Spotting a qualified tooth contouring dentist will not be a walk in the park because there are many of these professionals in the industry, and differentiating them might be an uphill task.

Although there is no specialization like cosmetic dentistry, the number of dentists providing cosmetic procedures like tooth contouring is on the rise. Finding the right dental practice for the treatment might, therefore, be challenging hence the reason we have highlighted some of the things you should do when searching for an expert to conduct the procedure.

Get Referrals

If you have a general or family dentist, it will be an excellent place to start. A few general dentists provide cosmetic contouring treatment. If yours doesn’t, you might consider speaking to them about your smile so that they can refer you to a dentist who will help you accomplish the perfect smile you have been searching for through cosmetic contouring.

If the general dentist can perform the procedure but finds out that you have other underlying oral conditions like gum disease, he or she will refer you to a specialist for treatment. The reason they do this is that such underlying oral issues might affect the longevity and outcome of the cosmetic contouring procedure.

Similarly, if you know someone who has undergone cosmetic contouring in the past and the outcome of the procedure is appealing, consider getting the name or contacts of the dentist who performed the treatment.

Narrowing Down your Options

When getting referrals, you list down the names of the experts that interest you. The list might be very long, and you only need to pick one dentist. For this reason, you will need to do some homework or background checks on these candidates to narrow down your list. Arrange an appointment with the dentist who has been practicing cosmetic dentistry procedures for many years. Additionally, the expert must have handled multiple cases of cosmetic contouring in the past.

Once you have narrowed down your list, call the remaining dentists and schedule an appointment. The first question during the interview with the various candidates should be on finding out if the dentist provides cosmetic contouring or if he refers patients requiring the treatment to other professionals.

You may also want to know if the expert is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Becoming a member of such a group requires thorough studying, ethical standards, and examination. If you come across a dentist who is a member of this association, then you can relax because you are guaranteed a beautiful smile at the end of the journey.

During your visit to the dental practices, request for pictures showing before and after cosmetic contouring. This will give you an overview of what to expect at the end of the day.

Because no sedation or anesthetic is necessary for cosmetic contouring, you may want to know the kind of comfort the practice provides to patients during the procedure.

What to Expect During Consultation

It is during your initial consultation that you will talk about what you like and dislike about your smile. Additionally, you get to set expectations for your treatment. During this visit, the following will happen:

  • A comprehensive oral examination and inspection of existing dental work
  • X-rays
  • Looking through smile design books containing before and after photos of cosmetic contouring.
  • Assessing various tooth shapes and sizes to see what is most suitable for you
  • Highlighting your teeth color
  • Using a computer monitor to evaluate your smile tooth by tooth to understand what requires changing.

During this initial meeting, you may also discuss various financing and payment options to help manage the cost of the procedure. Because insurers rarely provide coverage for cosmetic contouring, you might want to consider the in-house payment options to make the treatment more affordable.

Find a Dentist Specializing in Cosmetic Contouring Near Me

If you are looking for a less invasive, conservative, and affordable procedure to enhance minor flaws on your teeth for a flawless smile in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, CA, then you should speak to Washington Dental. We believe that you shouldn’t let minor dental problems deny you confidence or prevent you from smiling, which is why we provide cosmetic contouring treatment. 

We serve these locations locally to you: Lomita DentistCarson DentistLos Angeles Dentist