Most people wish that they had straight, beautifully aligned, sparkling white teeth. Unfortunately, most people are not that lucky. When teeth are in very poor alignment - rotated, tilted, crowded, the obvious way to correct the problem is by orthodontics - braces.
However, there are situations where it may not be possible or desirable to use braces to straighten teeth. The patient might feel that they are too old (although this is rarely the case!), the cost of the orthodontics may preclude their use, the patient does not want to wear braces, or perhaps there are only a few areas that need attention and full orthodontics is not indicated.
In certain select cases, the appearance of your top and bottom teeth can be dramatically improved by slightly recontouring the enamel (the tooth's outer layer). The front six teeth on both the top and bottom can be routinely altered. Sometimes teeth further back in your mouth can also be cosmetically improved. Enamel recontouring can be useful when there is slight to moderate overlapping of the front teeth, slight rotation of the front teeth, uneven wear or teeth that do not have their biting and incising edges in harmony - an uneven "picket fence" look.
This is usually a painless procedure (no local anesthetic is administered). The enamel that is overlapping or poorly shaped is removed, recontoured and polished. Depending upon your individual needs one or several teeth may require some reshaping and different amounts of enamel may be removed from different teeth. The teeth do not become more prone to decay and they are not made weaker or "damaged" by the procedure.