A healthy and beautiful smile goes a long way in boosting your confidence and making you feel at your best. When you have damaged or worn-out teeth, it makes you develop insecurities that could weigh heavily on your mind and heart. Cosmetic contouring can restore your smile and restore your confidence, and self-esteem. Cosmetic contouring is the resizing and reshaping of teeth to improve their aesthetics. This dental procedure involves minor alterations to the teeth to correct fractured or chipped teeth and level an uneven smile. You can count on South Coast Dentistry if you need quality cosmetic contouring services in Aliso Viejo, CA. We have experienced dentists who understand all aspects of cosmetic contouring, making us the go-to dentist in the area. 

Understanding Cosmetic Contouring

Also known as odontoplasty, cosmetic contouring is a dental procedure that involves removing the tooth enamel and reshaping the teeth to improve their appearance. At times, this procedure is coupled with cosmetic bonding. It involves transforming the length and shape of a patient’s teeth using a composite material that removes fractures, imperfections, and sharp angles. In other cases, cosmetic contouring comes in handy in improving a patient’s teeth alignment and creating a more symmetrical-looking smile.

Candidates For Cosmetic Contouring

You can only be eligible for cosmetic contouring if you have healthy teeth. Your tooth enamel must be thick enough to remain strong even after removing some of its parts. Cosmetic contouring is not suitable for patients with thin teeth. Removing enamel could get too close to the nerves and interior pulp and cause damage to the teeth.

This procedure is also not ideal for patients with sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures since it could escalate the problem. Additionally, cosmetic contouring cannot address serious dental issues like decayed, cracked, damaged, misaligned, or discolored teeth. These dental issues require comprehensive cosmetic procedures like dental bonding or teeth whitening in the case of discolored teeth.

Advantages Of Cosmetic Contouring

Cosmetic contouring has the following advantages:

  • It improves the health of your teeth — The procedure achieves this result by correcting minor imperfections on your teeth, like overlapping teeth. It prevents plaque buildup in the areas where the teeth are overlapped. In addition, cosmetic contouring reduces the risks of gum disease and tooth decay.
  • It is painless — No pain is involved during removing some of the enamel from the tooth. Therefore, a patient does not require anesthesia because this process is painless.
  • It is cost-effective — Cosmetic contouring is one of the cheapest ways to make subtle changes to the look of a patient’s teeth. It is much more affordable than other procedures like braces and veneers.
  • Minimum treatment time
  • Permanent results

Disadvantages Of Cosmetic Contouring

The limitations associated with cosmetic contouring include the following:

  • Small changes — Cosmetic contouring, on its own, does not make major changes to the look of the patient’s smile. It is a process aimed at just correcting minor imperfections in the teeth.
  • Risk of tooth damage — You could develop teeth sensitivity if your dentist removes too much enamel. Your teeth could also be at risk of breaking.
  • Could cause discomfort for children with large pulp canal
  • It does not improve the color of your teeth — If you have discolored teeth, you should undergo teeth whitening instead of cosmetic contouring

Cosmetic Contouring Procedure

The cosmetic contouring procedure is fairly short and simple. Generally, it does not exceed 30 minutes. However, how long it takes to complete the procedure depends on the number of teeth your dentist works on. Cosmetic contouring does not need anesthesia or prep work because it is a non-invasive procedure. Therefore, the procedure is pain-free and relatively short. Here is what you should expect if you plan to undergo cosmetic contouring:

Dental Evaluation

The standard practice before cosmetic contouring is to check the condition of your teeth. Your dentist will carry out several X-rays for this purpose and thoroughly check your teeth to ascertain their health status. In addition, the dentist will examine the amount of enamel on your teeth, and if possible, he/she will reshape the teeth. Your dentist could recommend veneers if your teeth do not have sufficient enamel. This is why it is advisable to consult your dentist before cosmetic contouring.

Teeth Marking

Your dentist will mark and label your teeth after the dental examination. This procedure involves scanning the teeth digitally and changing the digital impression. Some dentists conduct this step using a manual system and then commence the contouring process. Your opinion matters. If you do not feel comfortable about undergoing a dental procedure, you should let the dentist know.

During marking, dentists major in problematic areas with cosmetic issues like marks, cracks, or stains. Dentists use tools like orthodontic pens to mark the teeth for accurate alterations.


Your dentist will contour after marking the problem areas on your teeth. Contouring involves shaving off a thin layer of the enamel with a driller or sanding instruments to prevent excessive pressure on the tooth. For example, if you have a stain on one of the incisors, your dentist will use a sanding disk to scrape off the stain.

Most times, dentists recommend dental contouring for patients before undergoing orthodontic treatments like braces or aligners. However, most patients opt for contouring instead of orthodontic treatments.

Cosmetic contouring is best for patients with minor flaws, which could be preventing them from smiling confidently. This procedure is also effective for patients with teeth that do not match or have jagged edges. Contouring works well to achieve uniform teeth. Additionally, if you need smaller teeth, contouring is the best non-invasive way of achieving them.

Bonding Or Dental Composite

This process aims at restoring parts of the tooth where the enamel is removed. This step is an important part of the cosmetic contouring process. Some of the common issues bonding seeks to fix are:

  • Small gaps between the teeth
  • Chipped teeth
  • Intense stains that cannot be removed with other whitening options
  • A tooth that appears short or uneven
  • Bonding serves as an alternative to a crown on a front tooth

Bonding is important because your tooth becomes vulnerable once the dentist removes parts of the enamel. Tooth restoration is necessary to prevent future dental issues. Your dentist should ensure that the bonding is the same shade as the tooth for a uniform look.

The material used to bond irregularities in a tooth is composite resin. Composite resin is also used to fill visible cavities because its color resembles the tooth's natural enamel. In addition, composite resin can be painted to match the tooth color and hide the bonding to ensure it is not noticeable.

In the first few days after bonding, your teeth could feel strange. It could take a while to get used to the new shape of your teeth. You should avoid smoking or eating foods that could stain your teeth to maintain your new look and feel. After bonding, it could take five to ten years before you require additional treatment, provided you maintain good oral health.

The Cost Of Cosmetic Contouring

Cosmetic contouring is easy, but since it entails enamel extraction, you need a professional to carry out the procedure. The cost of cosmetic contouring varies from patient to patient, depending on the condition of the teeth. The standard is between $50 and $500 per tooth. However, you could come across other dentists providing special promotional prices, much cheaper than the standard price. Usually, cosmetic contouring is one of the most affordable processes compared to other cosmetic dental treatments.

You should conduct sufficient research and read dental reviews on cosmetic contouring before you book an appointment. Do not base your choice of a dental clinic solely on the cost. It is best to find a dental clinic you can trust and feel at ease with.

You could be wondering whether your dental insurance will cover cosmetic contouring. Cosmetic contouring is an elective cosmetic dental procedure. Most dental insurance plans do not cover it. However, you should consult us to determine if your dental insurance can cover cosmetic contouring.

At South Coast Dentistry, we have flexible financing plans that fit our clients' budgets. We accept various forms of payment, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, personal checks, and cash. So do not hesitate to contact us, even if you are on a tight budget.

Possible Side Effects Of Cosmetic Contouring

You could experience a few side effects after cosmetic contouring, even if the procedure is non-invasive and painless. Irritation is one of the possible side effects. You could also experience tooth sensitivity if your dentist extracts excessive enamel.

Patients face long-term problems if the dentist extracts excess enamel. Some of the long-term problems include the vulnerability of the teeth to decay and tartar buildup. You could also suffer from weak and loose teeth after cosmetic contouring. This is why you should only have an experienced dentist conduct the cosmetic contouring to avoid adverse side effects.

Cosmetic Contouring And Veneers

Veneers fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create bright smiles with beautifully aligned and shaped teeth. In addition, your dentist could recommend cosmetic contouring and veneers if you have insufficient tooth enamel.

A veneer is a shell or wafer-thin layer of tooth-colored porcelain or composite placed over the facial surfaces of the patient’s teeth. It corrects uneven alignment, worn-out tooth enamel, cracks, and discoloration. Veneers also eliminate the need for extensive treatments by protecting the surface of damaged teeth. Veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth, effectively altering the teeth’s length, color, size, and shape. They result in an immediate and dramatic smile makeover.

Maintaining Healthy Teeth After Cosmetic Contouring

What you should know about cosmetic contouring is that it leaves your teeth slightly thinner. This could make the teeth sensitive to cold and hot sensations. You should protect your teeth against abrasive objects and brush gently to avoid damaging the remaining enamel. You should do the following to keep your teeth healthy after cosmetic contouring:

  • Maintain good dental hygiene and seek regular dental checkups
  • Avoid sugar-filled foods or drinks
  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste
  • Consider adding extra calcium to your diet or taking a supplement
  • Avoid grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • Deep cleaning as well as polishing to improve the appearance of your teeth

Cosmetic Contouring Before And After Braces

In orthodontic dentistry, cosmetic contouring makes minor changes before and after braces. Dentists file the teeth to obtain the best outcome from the orthodontic treatment. There is no use of anesthesia when performing cosmetic contouring. You could feel a slight discomfort, but the feeling will decline after some time.

Cosmetic Contouring and Teeth Whitening

A dentist could combine cosmetic contouring with dental whitening if a patient has tooth discoloration. This is mainly to make the teeth appear straight and clean. However, most dentists advise patients to use natural ways to whiten their teeth because of the effects of commercial teeth whitening products on teeth.

How Long Do The Results Of Cosmetic Contouring Last

How long the results of cosmetic contouring last will vary depending on several factors. A patient's dental hygiene is one of the determining factors. If you are consistent and thorough with your oral hygiene practices, you prolong the treatment's efficacy. You need to adhere to basic dental hygiene behaviors like regular flossing, brushing, and rinsing with mouthwash. Besides observing basic dental hygiene, you should ensure that you go for a dental checkup every few months. This simple routine makes a big difference in improving your oral health.

Some of the natural ways to maintain the results of cosmetic contouring are:

Eating  High Fiber Foods

Chewing legumes and certain high-fiber vegetables can help neutralize the acid in your mouth and protect the enamel on your teeth. In addition, leafy greens like spinach and beans trigger the mouth to produce more saliva that helps clean the mouth from acid.

You should also incorporate certain fruits into your diet. Bromelain and papain are enzymes that occur in pineapples and papayas, respectively, and can both help keep your teeth bright and strong. It is not recommended to rub your teeth directly with pieces of fruit because the acid in the fruit can make the color of your teeth worse. The acid could also weaken your already thin teeth, making them prone to breakage.

Effective Natural Teeth Cleaning

Instead of using abrasive products to maintain the color of your teeth after cosmetic contouring, you can use natural whiteners. Hydrogen peroxide can effectively whiten your stained teeth since it is a mild bleach. To obtain optimal results, you could brush your teeth with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for one to two minutes twice a week. However, you should only practice this occasionally. Since hydrogen peroxide could escalate tooth sensitivity, using it as a long-term remedy or for patients with sensitive teeth is not advisable.

Baking soda is effective in polishing off stains from the teeth' enamel. It could also help fight bacteria, reduce plaque, and prevent tooth decay.

Oil pulling involves washing the mouth with oil to remove debris, dirt, and bacteria. It is not an alternative to regular flossing or brushing. Brushing your teeth with certain oils could help keep them bright. You are required to rinse your mouth with oil for about 20 minutes after brushing and then spit it out. The oils recommended for oil pulling include sesame, sunflower, and coconut.

Making Dietary Changes

You can protect your teeth from further harm by avoiding certain foods and beverages. For example, consuming beverages and foods that contain tannins, like tea and wine, can stain your teeth. Juices, coffee, and dark sodas can also stain your teeth.

Eating acidic foods can make your teeth yellow by wearing down the enamel. If you care about the color of your teeth, you should avoid consuming too much soda, coffee, and citrus. Alternatively, you must brush your teeth after consuming these foods. Usually, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth immediately can cause damage since acids can weaken the enamel.

Avoiding tobacco products and smoking can reduce the risk of nicotine stains on the enamel and keep your teeth strong. It can also prevent gum disease and tooth decay, which can cause oral health issues and damage the enamel.

Find a Cosmetic Dentist Near Me

If you are unhappy with the size or shape of your teeth, you should consider cosmetic contouring. A dentist with experience in cosmetic contouring will reshape your teeth for aesthetic reasons. In addition, the dentist will create a professionally beautiful and refined smile. At South Coast Dentistry, we have a solution for you. No matter how unsightly your teeth are, our dentists will do everything to improve their appearance. Our Aliso Viejo dentists have decades of experience in cosmetic contouring. They have assisted countless patients in regaining their confidence. Call us today at 949-274-9086 to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists.