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What is Teeth Shaving: Everything You Need To Know

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What is Teeth Shaving: Everything You Need To Know

Teeth shaving is the process of reducing the size of a tooth for cosmetic reasons. The goal is to achieve the perfect smile by reshaping the tooth and improving its appearance.

You may have heard different names for the same process, such as tooth reshaping, tooth filing and tooth shaving. However, the technical term is enameloplasty or odontoplasty.

This cosmetic dentistry procedure requires the removal of a small amount of enamel for tooth reshaping. It can be done for cosmetic reasons such as evening out a chipped or misshapen tooth.

It can also be performed to prepare a damaged tooth for a crown. Here are the cases where teeth shaving may be required and the potential risks involved.

Table of Contents

Procedures for teeth shaving

A qualified dentist should be the only one to perform teeth shaving. This is because removing enamel is a delicate process that takes a high level of skill and precision.

Furthermore, a special grinding tool is used to safely remove the enamel without damaging the inner part of the tooth. Enamel does not grow back, so a mistake can cause lasting damage.

When deciding whether teeth shaving is right for you, it’s important to learn about the benefits and purpose of having it done. A person may have to undergo teeth shaving to create room in the mouth for braces, crowns, or other dental procedures.

A cosmetic dentist can perform an X-ray to determine whether you’re a good fit for teeth shaving.

To create more room in the mouth

There may be crowded teeth when there isn’t enough room in the mouth for the teeth to grow straight. As a result, teeth may overlap, causing crooked teeth and misalignment.

Crowded teeth are typically caused by the genetics of having big teeth or a small jaw. Teeth shaving may be appropriate since filing down some of these overcrowded teeth can provide enough space for the teeth to grow straight and prevents overlaps.

This makes it easier for a person to clean their teeth and avoid plaque in areas of the teeth that they can’t reach easily.


Application of braces

Sometimes dentists will need to perform teeth shaving before orthodontic treatment. Braces and retainers can help correct misalignment or bite issues.

If the teeth are too large or crowded, braces may not be able to effectively straighten the teeth because the teeth are getting in their own way.

Orthodontists will recommend performing teeth shaving first, and extractions only if teeth shaving is not sufficient to create enough space for the teeth. Once teeth have space to move, braces will be able to help to align the teeth again.


When receiving a crown

When a person experiences tooth decay or an infected tooth, a root canal treatment is needed to remove the inflamed pulp out of the tooth.

A crown is then placed over the damaged tooth to prevent further damage. However, before a crown can be put over the tooth, teeth shaving and preparation are needed to ensure the cap fits precisely over the teeth.

Crowns may also be received for cosmetic purposes, in order to cover up damaged or chipped teeth.


Occlusal Equilibration

Bite problems can occur when the upper or lower teeth do not line up. You might experience pain from your jaw or back teeth due to the misaligned bite.

Occlusal equilibration is a dental treatment where reshaping of the teeth is used to adjust how the upper and lower teeth bite together.

For instance, your canine tooth might be too large or long and therefore affect your bite. Your dentist may recommend shaving the canine tooth to alleviate some of the pain due to the bite issues.


Reshaping or recontouring damaged teeth

Small chips or cracks can cause uneven teeth. Teeth shaving may be used to reshape or recontour teeth with slight damage.

Veneers are a common cosmetic procedure where shells are bonded over the front teeth, which can enhance their appearance and hide tooth discolouration or chipped teeth.

However, teeth shaving may be needed before these shells can be bonded. This means shaving the outer layer or a small amount of enamel so that the thin shells can be placed over the tooth.

How tooth cleaning works - Bespoke Smile

 Is teeth shaving required for veneers?

Teeth shaving is not always required in the veneer procedure. This generally depends on the type of veneers you choose.

Porcelain veneers only require about 0.2mm to 0.5mm of enamel to be removed from the surface of the tooth. It requires a skilled cosmetic dentist to perform the preparation to ensure only a sliver of enamel is removed.

At Bespoke Smile, we aim to preserve the natural tooth as much as possible. Veneers are a great option to conceal a chipped, misshapen, cracked, discoloured, stained, or missing tooth.

We also offer Lumineers which are ultra-thin porcelain veneers that generally require no preparation, meaning no tooth shaving is involved.
Your cosmetic dentist will advise you if you need teeth shaving at your consultation after he or she assess your teeth, gums and bite.


Is tooth shaving painful?

If done properly, odontoplasty should be a painless experience.

That’s because the dentist only removes a small portion of the tooth enamel and does not touch any part of the inner tooth structure, such as the pulp or root of the tooth.

Additionally, there won’t be any need for anaesthetics for this procedure.


Risks and side effects of teeth shaving

With any dental procedure, there are potential side effects or risks involved.

It is vital to have an experienced dentist perform teeth shaving. Excessive enamel removal will leave your tooth vulnerable to tooth sensitivity and tooth decay.

It’s important you don’t consider shaving teeth down to pegs since that could have irreversible long-term effects on your dental health. For example, severely damaged teeth may require the use of dental implants so that they can look and function like real ones.

All the different kinds of veneers - Bespoke Smile

DIY teeth shaving is a bad idea

Getting dental advice on social media from influencers or peers is usually not a good idea. Take the TikTok trend where influencers are sharing their journey of getting dental treatments in Turkey.

These young adults would perform DIY teeth shaving techniques such as using a nail file or sandpaper to remove their tooth enamel themselves. As a result, their teeth are turned into snubs or pegs that look horrifying.

Many of these influencers mistakenly assume that they will receive veneers when they go for dental treatment in Turkey. Some Turkish dental practices give cheap procedures in exchange for social media promotions. However, the problem is that these influencers don’t realize they are actually getting crowns.

Since crowns are much more invasive and require extensive preparation, they can have long-lasting detrimental effects if it is not done properly.


Are you unhappy with the shape of your teeth?

You might feel anxious and embarrassed about your teeth and are looking to improve your smile. A beautiful and flawless smile can go a long way to improving one’s confidence and self-esteem.

When done properly, teeth shaving in conjunction with appropriate dental procedures can be a way to repair and restore your smile.

However, it must be done in the right circumstances. Teeth shaving for the situations mentioned above, such as with veneers or orthodontic treatments, can be useful so that the treatments can be correctly applied for the best results.

Never try DIY teeth shaving hacks at home, and always consult with a dental professional if you’re concerned about the shape of your teeth or your oral health.

At Bespoke Smile Dental Clinic, we’re here to give our patients their dream smile. We offer high-quality and affordable dentistry while also easing their anxiety.

If you’re interested in learning more about our dental treatment plans and curious to know which dental solution is right for you, book a free consultation with us today!

Written by Dr. Sam Jethwa
Written by Dr. Sam Jethwa

BDS (Lon) MFDS RCS (Edin) PgDip ClinEd (UK)
Areas of expertise: Smile makeovers using ultra-thin porcelain veneers, smile design to restore worn teeth and advanced full mouth restorative dentistry.

“A perfect, natural, or bespoke smile is possible to achieve for anyone. There is no substitute for the feeling of confidence an individual and beautiful smile can give. We have developed techniques, which we teach to dentists across the UK and abroad, to help them better their care in their clinics. I believe in comprehensively treating every patient, to bring them up to absolute health, and then put in place maintenance to avoid patients from recurrent replacements, and further treatment. It is a passion for me to deliver an unrivalled experience and end result, which stands the test of time”

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