Teeth filing is a procedure that involves the dentist shaving your teeth to create the appearance of a more uniform smile and improved aesthetics. When the teeth are filed too much, it can weaken your tooth and cause problems like sensitivity, increased chances of decay, yellowing of teeth, and chipping or breakage. If you have uneven, broken, or chipped teeth that make you self-conscious while smiling, teeth filing could help you. Teeth filing can also be part of a treatment for medical issues such as getting a damaged tooth ready for a crown or correcting a bite.
Teeth filing involves removing small portions of tooth enamel to fix minor cosmetic issues.
It should be painless as the enamel does not have nerve endings. Also, it shouldn’t cause lasting damage. But since the enamel is only about 2.58 millimeters, there’s not much room for error.
Teeth enamel is the outer covering of the tooth. It is the hardest tissue in our body and contains the highest percentage of minerals at 96%. Tooth filing is also known as enameloplasty, is a cheaper, quicker, and pain-free alternative to align or fix teeth. Even though it’s an option, it’s not suitable for everybody.
People who can benefit from teeth filing often have minor and less severe dental issues. It’s not used for correcting overlap, severely crooked, or misaligned teeth.
For teeth filing to be effective, you need to have healthy gums and teeth. After teeth filing, you must take good care of them as you will have a thinner layer of protective enamel. Let’s learn more about the procedure, advantages, and risks associated with it.
Table of Contents
- What is enamel filing or reshaping, and how is it done?
- Reasons and benefits of teeth filing
- Risks involved with teeth filing
- Caring for your teeth after filing and reshaping
What is enamel filing or reshaping, and how is it done?
After your dentist has checked the health of your teeth and gums, he will check your enamel. If you have weak enamel, you may be recommended another procedure such as veneers.
If you are eligible for enamel filing, the dentist will start the procedure by removing some of your teeth with a sanding disc or a fine diamond bur.
Then your dentist will shape and smoothen uneven teeth will reduce the length of longer teeth. These steps minimize the imperfection in your teeth and improve alignment and bite.
If you have chipped teeth or a big gap between your teeth, a dentist will usually combine bonding with filing. Bonding involves molding the shape of a tooth with resin.
When applied, the bonding material reshapes your teeth after hardening and matches the color of natural teeth.
Reasons and benefits of teeth filing
There are many reasons why a dentist may decide on reshaping or filing your teeth. It follows a careful examination of your jaw, teeth, and dental X-rays.
Braces and retainers help to align the teeth and get them into a better position or correct misplacement. As part of getting braces, sometimes the teeth have to be shaved a little by an orthodontist.
Free up space in the mouth
If your teeth get crowded, or you have a small jaw or big teeth, it can cause problems like misalignment, pain in the jaw, and crooked teeth.
By filing the teeth, it can create more room in the mouth and reduce the problems caused by crowding.
Improving an uneven smile
Small chips in your tooth can make you conscious and unable to smile openly and freely, and it can cause insecurity.
Shaving a tooth down to make a smooth edge can transform a smile and boost your confidence.
Adding a crown
A crown is a cover placed over a damaged or decayed tooth. Before placing a crown, the tooth is filed to prepare it for the crown placement.
Sometimes dentists need to file down your tooth in preparation for veneers. Veneers are similar to a crown in that it also covers damage to a tooth or the enamel. However, it covers the front of the tooth only.
Adjusting your bite
Misaligned teeth can severely affect your bite. It can cause pain in the muscles of your jaw, headaches, and loosen teeth.
If your jaw does not close properly, your dentist may recommend shaving or filing teeth to let your upper teeth rest on your lower teeth easily.
Risks involved with teeth filing
This type of dental procedure is considered safe and is one of the most conservative types of dental treatment.
A skilled cosmetic dentist will shave no more than 0.5 millimeters from your tooth, and a reputable one understands how to apply the techniques to preserve natural teeth.
The dentist may remove too much of your enamel sometimes and cause pain and tooth sensitivity.
Caring for your teeth after filing and reshaping
- After tooth filing or reshaping procedures, good aftercare is crucial to maintain an attractive appearance.
- Avoid eating hard foods, chewing on fingernails, biting on pens, and opening food packets with the teeth since it increases the risk of chipping.
- The resin used to reshape teeth can get stained by wine, coffee, tea, and cigarette smoke. So, avoid these as much as possible.
- Brushing twice and flossing can help keep the teeth remain white and maintain hygiene.
- Teeth filing is a pain-free procedure when done correctly and by an experienced dentist. Since the enamel of the teeth is filed, it can become sensitive to hot or cold sensations, which is a normal aftereffect. The sensitivity and pain should go away on their own after 2-4 weeks.
Tips for pain and sensitivity
- Use desensitizing toothpaste.
- Avoid hot or cold foods temporarily.
- Chew your food where there is no pain.
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil to help with sensitivity and pain.
- If the pain and sensitivity last for more than one month, contact your dentist.
Why get your teeth filed?
Recontouring or filing your teeth is a cosmetic procedure with functional and practical benefits. If you have roughness on the surface of your tooth, it may encourage bacterial growth and plaque formation. Filing the surface will smoothen them and help with oral hygiene.
In addition to cleanliness, it can help you smoothen small chipped teeth, reduce overlap, reduce the length of long teeth, balance unevenly shaped teeth and reshape pointy teeth like the canines.
How can I make my front teeth smaller?
There are a few ways that help make your front teeth smaller. Retainers and braces help align your teeth when they are crooked. Your dentist may use them if your teeth are crowded. Using them will help widen your jaw and give your teeth more space, will help reduce the appearance of crowded teeth and make them appear smaller.
Another method is trimming, where your cosmetic dentist will file down the sides and edges to shorten your teeth.
After trimming large front teeth, your dentist may use porcelain veneers to protect the layers below the enamel. They are used to protect the dentin(the layer below the teeth enamel).
In many cases, the front teeth may appear large due to the neighboring teeth being too small. So it is enlarged by veneers or a crown. This size enlargement will give an overall appearance of proportional teeth and make the front teeth appear small.
Can you file your teeth yourself?
You should not file your teeth by yourself. It will cause damage to the tooth enamel and can harm your teeth permanently. The damage may include decay and infection and may also make your teeth sensitive and painful.
Why do new crowns make my teeth sensitive and burn my gums?
A crown is used to cover the parts of a tooth that is damaged or decayed. While placing crowns, a significant portion of your natural tooth is removed, irritating the pulp.
The pulp of the tooth is made up of nerve fibers and blood vessels. Removal of tooth material to place a crown causes the pulp to become irritated and causes sensitive teeth and burning gums.
The teeth filing procedure can have a lot of benefits. It can enhance your smile, improve oral health and alleviate pain in the jaw and head. Talk to a dentist so that you can get the help you require according to your specific needs.
They are great for minor corrective issues like chips, small misalignments, and tooth size. Depending on your enamel health, your dentist may suggest other solutions like braces or veneers. If that is your ultimate goal, you could choose tooth reshaping or filing as a short-term solution while you save money for more expensive treatments.