Having to hold your smile for fear of revealing non uniform teeth can be uncomfortable. However, the good news is that there is a dental procedure known as tooth contouring, odontoplasty or tooth reshaping that is designed to fix minor imperfections and deformed teeth.
Ronnie Ntambara, a dentist at La life polyclinic-Kivoyu says that teeth reshaping is a cosmetic dental procedure used to remove a small amount of tooth enamel (the outer part of the tooth) portions to re-shape the tooth by size, length, surface.
He stresses that dentists remove part of the enamel, because if the whole of it is gotten rid of, it may breed sensitivity to the tooth.
Gilbert Nuwagaba, an Adult and Pediatric Dentistry specialist says that tooth contouring refers to altering the tooth’s size, length or appearance with an aim to improve one’s looks.
This normally is achieved by a dentist using drills or lasers to remove part of your enamel (the outside layer on your teeth), he says.
Nuwagaba further notes that tooth reshaping assists in fixing cracked, cracked or improperly aligned teeth and improves one’s oral health as it eases cleaning, especially areas in between one’s teeth while brushing.
He adds that contouring boosts and improves one’s appearance which is unidirectional to one’s self-esteem and confidence thus improving their social aspect of life.
Ntambara states that the best candidates for tooth reshaping are people with chipped teeth, patients with mamelons (these are small bumps on someone’s four front teeth known as incisors), patients with sensitive teeth and those with bruxism, a condition in which some people grind, gnash or clench their teeth unintentionally when they are awake or while sleeping.
He also carries on the people who had braces before, can also partake in tooth reshaping because there is a possibility that the cement remained in their teeth. Also the dental method works best during cosmetic treatments.
“If not done properly, tooth reshaping can leave the patients’ teeth sensitive and that sensitivity is mostly felt when air enters your mouth,” the dental expert states.
He notes that if dentists have removed a bigger part of the enamel, it’s advisable to do teeth or dental bonding—a cosmetic dental procedure that repairs a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth.
Ntambara advises proper dental care, for instance, brushing efficiently. ‘After reshaping your teeth, you ought to do vertical brushing where you tilt the brush vertically and move your toothbrush in up-and-down strokes as this method won’t create friction on the teeth.’
Alternatively, he notes that you can also opt for circular or fones methods of brushing. The latter is a quicker technique for brushing teeth and it involves placing the brush over a set of teeth, not at a particular angle, and then brushing each set four to five times with gentle, circular motions.
He discourages brushing horizontally because the brush is moved back and forth in short horizontal strokes, which may damage the gums. This method is also not effective in controlling dental plaque. He advises using toothpaste with fluoride mineral as it can harden the teeth.
Ntambara also notes that you should brush gently, to avoid causing friction on the teeth. Whether you have a dental problem or not, he advises doing regular dental checkups. Although experts advise doing so every three months, he says, this depends on someone’s hygiene.
“To avoid teeth reshaping, as it can result in sensitivity, dentists can replace the method with crowns (these are dental caps placed on top of damaged teeth). Alternatively, dental veneers can be used, these are custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials created to cover the front surface of teeth to improve someone’s appearance,” he states.
Nuwagaba also advises caring for the teeth post odontoplasty. For example, use soft bristled toothbrushes and non-abrasive toothpaste while brushing which ought to be gentle as well.
He also notes that food or drinks with extreme temperatures such as ice, should be avoided as they can elicit tooth sensitivity.
“Habits such as bottle soda opening with teeth or any non-food item that can harm one’s enamel should be avoided. Smoking and use of tobacco related products ought to be refrained as they can stain teeth and cause gum disorders,” Dr Nuwagaba says.