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If you’ve got a small chip on your tooth or a rough spot that irritates your tongue, enamel shaping may be a great choice for you. It’s a quick and inexpensive method that’s done in your dentist’s office.

Enamel is the outer covering of the tooth. It’s a tough shell that protects the softer part inside.

“Enamel shaping is used when a tooth needs very fine adjustments — when the surface is a little rough, for instance, or one tooth is a little squarer than a matching tooth,” says Kellee Kattleman Stanton, DDS, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

How It’s Done

You may hear your dentist refer to the procedure as re-contouring. He uses the same kind of tools that polish your teeth during a routine cleaning. The goal is to remove a very small amount of the surface to create a smoother look. It’s usually done without numbing your mouth.

The opposite of enamel reshaping is bonding. Your dentist adds a small amount of tooth-colored resin material to fill holes or small gaps in teeth. Then he’ll use a polishing tool to smooth out the surface.

Together, these procedures are simple ways to improve your smile.

Feature Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on March 22, 2015



Kellee Kattleman Stanton, DDS, Eagan, MN; spokeswoman, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

American Dental Association: “Cosmetic Dentistry.”