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Is the surface of one of your teeth a little uneven? Do you have a small chip? Does a rough spot on the inside of a tooth irritate your tongue? If so, a quick, inexpensive procedure called enamel shaping may be a great solution.

Enamel is the outer covering of the tooth. It's a tough shell that protects the softer part of the tooth 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. She's a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

 

How Enamel Shaping Is Done

To reshape enamel, dentists use the same kind of tools used to polish teeth during a routine cleaning. The goal is to remove a very small amount of the surface to create a smoother look. This is typically done without an anesthetic.

The opposite of enamel reshaping is bonding. This is when a small amount of tooth-colored resin material is added to fill holes or small gaps in teeth. After bonding, dentists use a polishing tool to smooth out the surface.

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

 

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