If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, you may have heard the term “tooth shaving” thrown around. Enamelplasty or interproximal reduction is a tooth-shaving procedure in which a dental professional removes small amounts of enamel from the sides of teeth to create more space between them. But is tooth shaving safe? Can an orthodontist shave teeth? Get the answer to those questions and more here.
What is Tooth Shaving?
Tooth shaving is a procedure in which an orthodontist removes a small amount of enamel from the sides of teeth to create more room for crowded or misaligned teeth. This procedure is often done in conjunction with braces or aligners. Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects it from damage and decay. It’s a painless and non-invasive procedure that can be done in just one office visit.
Reasons Why an Orthodontist May Recommend Tooth Shaving
An orthodontist may recommend tooth shaving for several reasons. The most common reason is to create more space between crowded teeth. Crowded teeth can cause problems with bite alignment, making it difficult to chew food properly or speak clearly. Tooth shaving can also help create space for teeth too large for the jaw or correct teeth that are tilted or rotated.
The Tooth Shaving Process
Tooth shaving is a simple and painless procedure that can be done in just one office visit. The orthodontist will use a special tool to remove a small amount of enamel from the sides of your teeth. You may feel a slight vibration during the procedure, but it should not be uncomfortable. After the procedure, your teeth may feel slightly sensitive for a few days, but this should subside quickly.
How to Prepare for Tooth Shaving
To prepare for tooth shaving, brush and floss your teeth before your appointment. You should also avoid eating or drinking anything for a few hours before the procedure to ensure your teeth are clean and dry. Talk to your orthodontist before your appointment if you have any questions or concerns about the process.
Aftercare for Tooth Shaving
After tooth shaving, you may experience some sensitivity in your teeth. That is normal and should subside within a few days. Once it passes, you should continue to brush and floss your teeth as usual, but be gentle around the shaved areas. Your orthodontist may recommend a fluoride treatment or other measures to help protect your teeth after the procedure.
Risks & Benefits of Tooth Shaving
Like any medical procedure, tooth shaving carries some risks and benefits. The main advantage of tooth shaving is that it can help create more space between crowded teeth, improving your bite and smile. Tooth shaving is a non-invasive and painless procedure that can be done quickly in the orthodontist’s office. However, some risks are associated with tooth shaving, including tooth sensitivity and possibly damaging the tooth’s pulp. Your orthodontist will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.
Alternative Treatments to Tooth Shaving
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of tooth shaving, there are alternative treatments available. Braces, aligners, and other appliances can help move teeth into their proper positions without tooth shaving. Your orthodontist can discuss these options with you and help you choose the best treatment for your needs.
Finding an Orthodontist Who Performs Tooth Shaving
If you’re interested in tooth shaving, it’s important to find an orthodontist who is experienced in the procedure. Look for an orthodontist with a good reputation and willingness to answer your questions and concerns. You can also ask for referrals from your dentist or friends who have had orthodontic treatment.
Since tooth shaving helps create space for teeth too large for the jaw or correct teeth that are tilted or rotated, you can certainly expect an orthodontist to be the dental professional to turn to for it. Thankfully, if you need tooth shaving for something like crowded teeth, you can rest assured that it’s a safe and effective procedure. In turn, it can help improve your smile by effectively correcting your bite. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, talk to your orthodontist about whether tooth shaving is right for you. You can enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile for years with the right care and attention.