Teeth Shaving: What it is and Why Your Dentist Would Prescribe it
If you have recently been to the orthodontist, then you have probably discussed teeth shaving. You probably are wondering what teeth shaving is and if it is beneficial to you.
First, teeth shaving doesn’t involve shaving hair off your teeth. Teeth shaving is used by orthodontists to help straighten your teeth. This article will cover everything you need to know about it.
What is Teeth Shaving?
Teeth shaving isn’t actually as scary as it sounds, and it is a very beneficial procedure. The process goes something like this.
Your dentist will first measure all the teeth in your mouth from an X-ray. They will then compare the size of all your teeth to the size of your mouth.
If your teeth are crowding your mouth, then your dentist will recommend shaving your teeth before they recommend placing braces on your teeth.
Anyway, the actual process of teeth shaving involves your dentist using a saw and grinder to narrow your teeth. These are not narrowing your teeth by a noticeable amount either. This narrowing is usually just a few millimeters for each tooth, but it does add up when spread across all the teeth in your mouth.
Does it Hurt?
Fortunately, teeth shaving doesn’t hurt. Yes, we know shaving your teeth with a saw and grinder sounds extremely painful. However, it doesn’t hurt because it simply removes the outer layer of your tooth. This outer layer doesn’t have any nerve endings, so you don’t even feel anything. There are nerve endings inside your teeth though, which is why it hurts when you fully break your teeth.
Does Teeth Shaving Require Anesthesia?
No. As mentioned earlier, there are no nerve endings on the outside of your teeth. This means that no anesthesia is required since there is no pain.
Does it Damage Tooth Enamel?
Yes. Tooth shaving will damage enamel at first. It is inevitable. However, your dentist will repair any damaged enamel to prevent any tooth decay.
Does it Make My Teeth Whiter?
No. Teeth shaving does not make your teeth whiter.
Often when you have teeth shaving done, your dentist will also whiten your teeth at the same time. This has led to many people thinking that teeth shaving results in white teeth.
Why Your Dentist Recommends Tooth Shaving
Your dentist usually has a good reason for everything that they do. In this case, teeth shaving is a necessary step that your dentist must take before placing braces in your mouth if your teeth are too crowded.
The extra space between your teeth allows for the teeth to align from the braces properly. Without teeth shaving, your teeth wouldn’t become straight from the braces. Instead, your teeth would end up crowding together and turning in awkward positions. It just wouldn’t work out.
Furthermore, teeth shaving is sometimes a necessity for adults since their pallets and jaws have already finished developing, which means the dentist cannot make adjustments to them.Usually, a dentist would adjust the structure of the teeth by attempting to change the hard pallet and soft pallet. As mentioned earlier, that is not really an option for adults.
Teeth shaving is still an option though.
Also, do not worry about the small gaps between your teeth. Your orthodontist will adjust the wires in your braces so that all the gaps will close. The gaps are so small that most people won’t even be able to notice them. You will likely notice them and want them closed though. They tend to get lots of food stuck in them.
Other Reasons for Teeth Shaving
There is more than just one reason that your dentist will recommend teeth shaving. It’s usually done for cosmetic purposes though. Some of those other purposes include the following:
Cosmetic re-contouring is shaving your teeth to make them appear straighter. It doesn’t involve braces or anything like that. Re-contouring is usually done for the front two teeth as those are the most visible.
In fact, this is the most frequent reason that people get their teeth shaved. It’s a relatively simple process and is a painless procedure (as all teeth shaving procedures are).
If you have a broken or missing tooth, then your dentist may need to shave the adjacent teeth to ensure that the replacement tooth fits properly. This is not too common of a reason to have your teeth shaved, but it does happen occasionally.
Again, do not worry when you hear “teeth shaving,” it’s a perfectly normal part of getting a replacement tooth. It is especially common for the pointed teeth due to the closeness of the teeth.
Reshaping Teeth to Ensure that a Denture Fits
Teeth shaving, in this case,is usually done before placing any kind of dental hardware in the mouth. It’s done so that the hardware can easily fit onto the teeth. It’s often done by shaving a notch into the teeth. Sometimes it might be done if hardware needs to be placed between the teeth.
This just depends on what your dentist needs to place in your mouth.
Why Teeth Shaving is Good
Teeth shaving may not only be used for tooth straightening, but it can also be used to adjust the shape of your teeth. This is particularly common for people that have odd shaped teeth.
For instance, if you have uneven teeth, then your dentist can shave the top of your teeth and make them level again.
Overall, there is nothing to fear when a dentist says they will shave your teeth despite how scary the phrase sounds. Teeth shaving is not even a painful process since there are literally no nerves for the dentist to disturb.
It is simply necessary for dental care if you want straight teeth. It is also necessary if you want to correct awkwardly shaped teeth.
Medically Fact-Checked & Written by Our Dental Editorial Team
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