It's natural to feel self-conscious when smiling if your teeth are disproportionate in size or shape. Fortunately, a technique known as tooth reshaping, contouring, or enameloplasty can be beneficial. This technique is used to correct minor flaws and irregular teeth. We at Washington Dental specialize in cutting-edge cosmetic dentistry procedures, including cosmetic contouring, that could help you get a beautiful smile. Get in touch with us or visit our clinic in Carson to see how we can help reshape your teeth.

What Does Cosmetic Contouring Mean?

Dental or cosmetic contouring involves reshaping the teeth. It is regarded as a cosmetic dentistry procedure and is also referred to as enameloplasty or odontoplasty in the dentistry field. The procedure involves removing very small sections of enamel from the tooth to enhance its shape, surface, or length. Some of the most common dental issues, such as chipped, cracked, or misaligned teeth, can all be corrected with contouring. Dental contouring can be the best option for you if you're looking to improve minor defects in your smile.

Also, the procedure can be used to address other dental issues including minor dental overlap, crowding, and oddly shaped or sized teeth. Even if these problems are relatively minor, if they are not fixed, they could lead to problems in the future.

Moreover, contouring can give you the smile you desire without having to spend much time in the dentist's chair. The process just requires one dental appointment, is less intrusive, and is competitively priced. In addition, the treatment does not call for any kind of anesthesia since the enamel does not contain any nerves. Also, there are no long-term negative consequences of the surgery since it includes the extraction of only a small amount of enamel.

The Cosmetic Contouring Procedure

Cosmetic or dental contouring is a procedure that is considered to be conservative, and dental professionals appreciate it due to its ease of performance. If you qualify for the procedure, the treatment will be performed and completed during your initial appointment with your dentist.

Before beginning any tooth reshaping, your dentist will examine the teeth and provide a professional diagnosis as to how the procedure will help you achieve the desired results. This will guarantee that you have not only a beautiful smile but also one that is healthy.

Be aware that when you are considering cosmetic contouring as a means of preventing gum diseases, you will require an x-ray to protect and isolate the very delicate inner tissues of the pulp. However, in most instances, the therapy will include scraping away the enamel's surface layer.

You can expect to feel some vibration when the process of removing your tooth's protective enamel begins. During this stage, the teeth are molded and smoothed out by cleaning to get rid of stains, plaque, and tartar buildup. During this operation, dentists typically employ sanding drills and fine diamond-tipped drills.

It is important to keep in mind that numbing or sedation medication is not required for the treatment since the procedure will not include any contact with the pulp or the nerves. The entire process will take no longer than half an hour, and you will get immediate results. Once completed, you can see the results instantly.

Remember that dental contouring is performed alongside additional cosmetic dentistry techniques such as veneers, teeth whitening, and dental bonding.

The Side Effects of Cosmetic Contouring

This method has the benefit of requiring no downtime for recovery after the treatment. This procedure allows for immediate recovery, letting you resume your usual routines. Only a very little bit of the protective enamel coating will be removed, so you won't experience any discomfort.

However, you may notice minor alterations to your teeth's overall feel, shape, length, or size. You may experience temporary sensitivity while chewing or taking something with very hot or cold temperatures

It's also important to remember that there are no live cells in the enamel. This indicates that when the removal of the undesirable enamel has been completed, the results will be irreversible since the enamel can not regrow or fix itself after the procedure.


After cosmetic contouring, you should avoid drinks such as tea, coffee, and tobacco as they could discolor your teeth. In addition to seeing the dentist regularly, you should make it a habit to floss and brush your teeth daily. If you take good care of your teeth, you can avoid problems like discoloration and cracks, which could mean you have to have the dental procedure again.

Potential Risks of Cosmetic Contouring

Cosmetic contouring poses a serious risk to the enamel since it causes thinning. Accidents, such as future trips and falls, can cause teeth to fracture or break. If there's a chance that the treatment could result in complications in the future, the dentist who is going to conduct the operation will most likely make you aware of its potential dangers and will not proceed with it if necessary. It is for this reason that individuals who have very delicate enamels are strongly advised against undergoing the treatment.

Who Needs Cosmetic Contouring?

Everyone who wants a healthier, more vibrant smile but has a few minor dental flaws might be an ideal match for this operation. Patients with one or more of the following conditions can undergo the procedure:

  • Broken or chipped teeth.
  • Overlapping.
  • Enamel with grooves and pits.
  • Unevenness.
  • Chips.

Even though this therapy is appropriate for most people, you still need a decent quantity of enamel on your teeth to go through with it.

When significant quantities of enamel are lost from your teeth, they become fragile because they lack the protective outer layer necessary for proper function. In addition, patients with severe tooth damage will require several aesthetic contouring and additional procedures, like veneers, as well as other restorative treatments, to fix their smile.

Your dentist will take into account your concerns about your dental health before recommending any specific treatment.

Advantages of Cosmetic Contouring

A dental patient can obtain several advantages from tooth contouring. These advantages include:

Symmetry Enhancement

As was mentioned before, cosmetic contouring can be utilized to correct a smile when the lengths of a person's teeth are irregular. The procedure reshapes the tooth so that it seems balanced, which in turn improves the appearance of the patient's smile. When enamel is removed from some of the teeth, the length of those teeth can be brought in line with the others, providing a more symmetrical smile.


Cosmetic contouring is more cost-effective than veneers or braces, two other common cosmetic dental treatments. Those who choose the procedure will save a lot of money since they won't have to pay for anesthesia. The operation is straightforward for dentists and takes approximately 30 minutes, which contributes to the inexpensive prices.

Fix Overlapping Teeth

Minor overbites can be fixed cosmetically. Therefore, if you've been having trouble chewing or have acquired other dental issues as a result of overbites, teeth contouring can fix the problem, and you can finally be free from oral complications caused by overlapping.

Instantaneous Results

The treatment's results don't require a long time to manifest. Some cosmetic dental treatments need more than 2 appointments to get a beautiful smile. Yet, with cosmetic contouring, you may have perfectly aligned teeth in just thirty minutes.

Time Saving

Cosmetic contouring just needs one session and often takes no longer than 30 minutes to perform, in contrast to other treatments that are time-consuming and frequently require many visits.

Pain-Free Procedure

Enamel is extracted during the cosmetic contouring procedure. Enamel is composed of dead cells which don't contain any nerves. Furthermore, dentists are usually gentle when using their dental tools, which renders the procedure painless and pleasant. Other cosmetic dental procedures, including veneers or braces, are uncomfortable.

Enhances General Oral Hygiene

Cosmetic contouring aids in the treatment of issues that, if ignored, might develop into serious oral conditions. It stops the accumulation of plaque and tartar, two major contributors to gum disease. This procedure removes the plaque and tartar, preventing the progression of these problems and enhancing your overall oral health.

In addition to the health benefits, the procedure can help you achieve the smile you've always wanted. Also, the surgery is ideal for you if you're sick of hiding your smile because of fractured or misaligned teeth. If you are aware of the advantages of this procedure, don't be reluctant to contact Washington Dental to help you with your issue.

It's important to remember that the treatment is not without risk. If excessive amounts of enamel are removed, one drawback is the possibility of developing weak teeth. The procedure might not be able to salvage your tooth if the damage is irreparable. Another drawback of the procedure is that it makes teeth sensitive, and if you often eat hard foods, the teeth are more likely to be damaged as a result.

Insurance Coverage

The main focus of cosmetic contouring is aesthetics. Because of this, insurance companies do not insure the procedure since they view it as elective. Despite this, you should always speak with your provider to learn about different payment options.

If the procedure is purely aimed at enhancing the appearance or smile of an individual, the underlying tissue or tooth isn't damaged, decaying, or otherwise compromised, and there's no medical need to carry out the procedure or alter the tooth's shape, it is referred to as elective or cosmetic. However, if a tooth needs to be reshaped due to an injury or accident, insurance companies would cover the procedure.

On the other hand, insurers could accept coverage for some restoration procedures. They offer insurance if the procedure is needed because of tooth decay or illness, an injury or accident, or for something other than aesthetics.

It's important to note that the majority of patients who pursue restorative procedures do so to achieve functional and healthy teeth. They are also trying to enhance the physical appearance of their teeth. Based on this, you should choose a restoration surgery only after consulting with a dental professional who will perform the procedure while considering the final results in mind.

Most dentists nowadays are partnering with insurance companies to offer insurance for cosmetic dental operations to reduce the expenses for patients who are interested in having such procedures. Therefore, check with your insurance provider to see if cosmetic contouring is covered.

How Much Does Cosmetic Contouring Cost?

When it comes to cosmetic dental procedures, cosmetic contouring offers the ideal cost-effective option. The process is easy because all you have to do is use simple tools like sanding drills to remove the unwanted part of the enamel. Because of this, the price of the procedure for a single tooth ranges between fifty dollars to three hundred dollars.

However, cosmetic dentists tend to charge differently. As a result, you must compare rates in the market if you're undergoing treatment. In this way, you can find a dental professional whose fees are affordable without compromising the quality of their services.

Cosmetic Procedures Carried Out Alongside Cosmetic Contouring

A cosmetic contouring procedure isn't intended to be used in place of braces. However, once the braces are taken out, tooth contouring could be undertaken to address minor issues with the teeth. However, the surgery is generally used in conjunction with other aesthetic operations including veneers, bonding, and teeth whitening. The following section goes into further detail about these procedures.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a trendy cosmetic dental procedure. There are different ways to whiten teeth for everybody, depending on how much time they have, how much money they have, and how they feel. You can choose to have the procedure done in a cosmetic spa, dental office, or home using over-the-counter bleaching kits.

If you choose teeth whitening, you will notice a substantial improvement in the appearance of your smile. Dentists mix teeth bleaching and cosmetic contouring when a patient's teeth are discolored or have uneven spots that detract from the beauty of their smile. Since cosmetic contouring eliminates plaque, stains, and tartar, it is also useful as a substitute for teeth whitening to give you whiter teeth.

Many individuals confuse teeth bleaching with whitening. The difference between the two is that bleaching entails whitening the teeth beyond their natural shade. On the other hand, teeth whitening cleans off stains and debris from the teeth, restoring the teeth's surface.

As with cosmetic contouring, there are risks associated with teeth whitening. You could experience minor gum irritation following the surgery. Moreover, bleaching makes the skin more sensitive to touch and temperature. Since dentists utilize a lot of teeth-bleaching agents, individuals who choose in-office tooth whitening often experience sensitivity. The additional risk is that the bleach used could whiten your teeth more than their normal shade, which could result in technicolor teeth.


A dental veneer is a small, tooth-colored composite shell that is bonded over the top layer of the teeth to correct dental problems such as chipping, tooth misalignment, tooth cracks, and discoloration. Like cosmetic contouring, veneers help align and shape the teeth so that they look perfect when you smile. However, cosmetic contouring could be done instead of or along with veneers for better results.

Dental veneers are an ideal solution for those with teeth that are uneven, have worn-down enamel, or are discolored. If the teeth that need veneers are also stained, dentists could recommend a teeth-whitening procedure in addition to the veneers.

Tooth Bonding

With tooth bonding, natural-looking or white materials are bonded to your teeth's cavities, chips, worn-down edges, or cracks. However, the teeth need to be prepped before the composite material is applied. Cosmetic contouring, which includes reshaping the teeth, is among the procedures dentists perform before tooth bonding. Dentists recommend tooth bonding as an aesthetically pleasing way to close gaps between teeth or fix minor misalignments.

Dentists often propose dental bonding when one or more teeth are significantly longer than the others or when there is significant variation in the size and shape of the teeth. However, the technique will be applied in conjunction with aesthetic contouring to assist in teeth reshaping.

Choosing an Ideal Cosmetic Contouring Service

A licensed dentist or a general dentist can undertake a cosmetic contouring procedure. However, these professionals aren't all equal. Finding a skilled tooth contouring dentist won't be easy since there are lots of such specialists in the field, and telling them apart could be difficult.

Although cosmetic dentistry is not a specialty, the number of dental professionals offering cosmetic procedures such as teeth contouring is increasing. Therefore, it could be challenging to identify the most suitable dentist's office for the procedure. For this reason, we have outlined some of the factors you ought to consider while looking for a specialist who will operate.

Get Referrals         

An excellent starting point is with your general or family dental professional. The cosmetic contouring procedure is only offered by a few dental practitioners. If your dentist doesn't, you could consider talking to them about it so they could recommend a dental professional that offers cosmetic contouring to give you the ideal smile you've been looking for.

Your general dentist would recommend you to a professional for treatment if he/she can execute the operation but discovers that you're suffering from additional underlying oral diseases, such as gum disease. They do this because such underlying dental issues can have a significant impact on the lifespan and success of the aesthetic contouring operation.

Similarly to this, if you know a person who's had cosmetic contouring performed before and the results are good, consider taking the name and contact information of the dental professional who handled the procedure.

Narrow Down the Options Available

When seeking referrals, you make a list of the specialists who match your interest. There could be several dentists on the list, but you only have to choose one. Because of this, to reduce your list of potential prospects, you'll need to conduct some research or background checks on each one. Schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dentist who has extensive experience performing cosmetic dentistry operations. The specialist also needs to have experience with several cosmetic contouring cases.

Schedule appointments with the remaining dental professionals after you've reduced your list of candidates. During the initial session with potential candidates, the first query should focus on whether the dentist offers cosmetic contouring procedures or if they recommend patients in need of the procedure to other specialists.

Also, you can research to find out if the professional is part of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. It takes extensive research, adherence to moral principles, and passing a test to join such groups. When dealing with a dental professional who belongs to this group, you could be at ease knowing that the process will end with a stunning smile.

Make sure to ask for before and after photos of cosmetic contouring when you visit their dental offices. This will provide you with a general idea of what to anticipate at the end of the procedure. Cosmetic contouring doesn't require sedation or anesthesia. Therefore you could be wondering about how comfortable individuals are at the clinic while having the treatment done.

Expectation During a Consultation Session

At the initial consultation, you'll discuss the aspects of your smile that you enjoy and dislike. You also get to determine what results you expect from the treatment. The following events will take place during this session:

  • X-rays.
  • A thorough oral exam and assessment of any dental work already done.
  • Assessing your smile on a computer screen allows you to get a detailed analysis of what needs to be fixed.
  • Examining smile design publications with before and after photographs of cosmetic contouring.
  • Highlighting the shade of your teeth.
  • Examining various tooth sizes and types to determine which one is best for the patient.

You could also talk about different payment and financing options to assist minimize the procedure's cost during the consultation. Also, you can use in-house financing options since insurance companies rarely support cosmetic contouring. This will make the procedure more affordable.

Find a Cosmetic Contouring Dentist Near Me

If you're seeking a less intrusive, economical, and conservative method to improve minor imperfections on your dental structure in Carson, CA, you can contact our professionals at Washington Dental. Contact us today at 310-217-1507 to get started.