Tooth Shaving: What It Is And Why Your Cosmetic Dentist Would Prescribe It

If you have recently visited an orthodontist to discuss how best to straighten and fix your teeth, and he or she suggested "tooth shaving," you might be wondering what that is. You might also be wondering how it helps straighten your teeth. As strange as the procedure sounds, it is actually quite simple and very effective.

What Tooth Shaving Is

Your orthodontist will take measurements of all of your teeth as well as the width of the roof of your mouth and the width of the lower mandible. If there is clearly not enough room in your jaws for your teeth based on the measurements your orthodontist has collected, then your orthodontist will suggest tooth shaving as preliminary procedure to braces. Tooth shaving involves the orthodontist using a sanding or grinding instrument to shave the edges of your teeth down by the prescribed number of millimeters so that their width and length is narrower and/or shorter.

Why Your Dentist/Orthodontist Would Prescribe It

By narrowing and shortening your teeth, your orthodontist or cosmetic dentist is able to make more room for your teeth in the narrow jaws you have. (This is especially useful in adults, whose jaws, soft palettes and hard palettes can no longer be adjusted with the use of orthodontic expanders.) Your overbite is decreased, and your teeth will now have room to move into their appropriate positions. As the wiring for the braces are tightened and released, teeth are moved over a few millimeters or moved down a few millimeters. Eventually, once all of the teeth are moved into their proper positions and straightened, then the orthodontic wires pull the teeth closer to close the small gaps.

Additional Benefits of Tooth Shaving

Along with fitting all of your teeth in your mouth and avoiding painful extractions, tooth shaving has a few other benefits. Shaving down the chewing edges of your front teeth makes them perfectly shaped. Any awkward points or bumps on the edges of your front teeth are removed and you look like you were born with the perfect smile. The shaved teeth are also polished and cleaned to a brilliant white, even whiter if you request a professional tooth bleaching along with the shaving and braces. After the cosmetic dentist has completed the shaving, a protective coating is applied to prevent deterioration and cavities.  Crooked teeth, teeth that grew in twisted sideways, are turned to fit the spaces they were meant to, making your smile look less like a kid's and more like an adult's.