Tooth ContouringRemoving just a slight amount of tooth enamel can eliminate small imperfections and make subtle but amazing changes in your smile.

“Even a few millimeters of reduction in the right places can really improve the appearance of teeth,” says Dr. Harms,

who has a private dental practice in Farmington, Minn.  This is one of few instant treatments now available in cosmetic dentistry.


These are some of the flaws tooth contouring can correct:

  • tips of teeth that are a little out of shape
  • round (or square) the tooth’s geometry exactly as needed
  • a tooth that is a little longer than another
  • a tooth that is a little crooked
  • a tooth that is too pointy
  • a tooth with one side protruding more than the other
  • teeth that are not symmetrical
  • teeth that are poorly aligned
  • teeth that are slightly overlapped
  • teeth that have visible cracks and chips
  • teeth with small problems in the bite
  • a more feminine or more masculine expression

In addition, if you’ve completed treatment with braces to straighten your teeth, tooth contouring can often be used to further enhance the end result by making the tips of the teeth look more perfect in shape.

Advantages of tooth reshaping and dental contouring:

  • Cost: This is an inexpensive way to improve the look of your teeth.
  • Painless: Because only surface enamel is removed in tooth reshaping and dental contouring, there’s generally no discomfort during the procedure and no anesthesia is required.
  • Time:  Can usually be accomplished in one dental session.
  • Improves health of teeth: Removing minor overlaps and other imperfections where tartar and plaque can build up lowers your risk of decay and gum disease.
  • Possible substitute for braces: In some situations, tooth reshaping can substitute for braces since they make teeth look a little straighter and eliminate minor overlapping.
  • Safe and Conservative: Because minimal amounts of enamel are removed without affecting the healthy tooth.

There are some limits.  Because teeth may become weaker if large amounts of enamel are removed, and subject to breakage and/or heightened sensitivity, tooth reshaping should be limited to minor changes or combined with veneers or bonding for the best results.  For more noticeable changes and whiter teeth, veneers that cover the entire front surface of the teeth or bonding might be recommended.  Tooth contouring is most often used when the upper front teeth have been veneered, and the appearance of the lower teeth needs to be improved without having to veneer them.  If your teeth are uneven because of bruxism (grinding), they’ll become uneven again until the grinding issue is resolved.

For anyone who has minor problems with chipped, cracked or irregularly shaped teeth, dental contouring and reshaping may be just the ticket for a more beautiful smile.

If you are interested in tooth contouring & reshaping, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.