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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.

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