What is Enameloplasty? Mastering the Odontoplasty Procedure

Written by Dr. Febin Mary George, BDS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shaista Salam, BDS, Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Enameloplasty?
  2. Enameloplasty Candidates
  3. Enameloplasty: Step by Step Procedure
  4. Benefits of Enameloplasty
  5. Recovery & Follow-up for Patients

What is Enameloplasty: Definition

Enameloplasty, also called odontoplasty, dental contouring, tooth reshaping, or tooth stripping, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure in which a very small amount of enamel is removed or filed to change the length, shape, or surface of a tooth. (2)

When is Odontoplasty Used?

Odontoplasty is an excellent cosmetic procedure that can fix minor dental imperfections in a comfortable and painless way. It can be used for:

  1. Correcting the appearance of chipped teeth
  2. Smoothing out the sharp edges of teeth
  3. Shortening teeth that appear longer than usual
  4. Reshaping canines into laterals in case of missing laterals
  5. Minor adjustments in the bite
  6. Gaining space to fix teeth alignment through orthodontic treatment IPR
  7. Adjunct to fissure sealants application in deep fissures (Better retention and less microleakage (1)

Enameloplasty in clear aligner treatments

  • IPR

IPR (or interproximal reduction) is a form of enameloplasty, and is an essential step in most clear aligner treatments. It helps to create space in the arch so the teeth can move into their correct positions. (3)

In several cases, tooth contouring is performed as a finishing procedure after clear aligners. While clear aligners bring the teeth to their proper alignment, the dimensions of the teeth may not be in proportion.

Is interproximal reduction necessary? Image depicting an interproximal reduction (IPR) treatment or stripping.
  • Dental contouring

Dental contouring can then transform your patient’s smile into a perfect one! Through tooth reshaping, the minor alterations in the length of the teeth can be adjusted, and any existing unaesthetic spaces between the teeth can be closed. (2)

Who Are Enameloplasty Candidates?

Just like any other dental procedure, dental contouring is not applicable in every case. An ideal candidate for enameloplasty would have:

  • Teeth with uneven edges: Individuals with teeth that are slightly  chipped off or are not in the correct shape can be recommended enameloplasty.
  • Pointed or unusually long teeth: In the case of long or pointed teeth, enameloplasty can be done to reshape them to their ideal form and create an even smile.
  • Clear aligners or braces treatment: Interproximal reduction or IPR is a form of enameloplasty in which the proximal teeth surfaces are trimmed minimally to reduce the width of the teeth and break tight contacts. The space gained through IPR is utilized for the desired orthodontic teeth movement with clear aligners or braces.
  • Teeth with deep pits and fissures: Deep pits and fissures are found in newly erupted teeth quite often. They serve as excellent breeding spots for food accumulation and decay-causing bacteria. Enameloplasty can transform the deep inaccessible pits and fissures to smooth areas where the toothbrush bristles can easily reach and clean food debris.

What are fissure sealants? Image of a precautionary treatment to prevent dental caries in pits and fissures.

  • Following enameloplasty, the application of pit and fissure sealants can be done to prevent decay from occurring. It has been observed that enameloplasty done before the application of sealants can prevent microleakage, ensure better retention of the sealant, and hence better protection against dental caries. (1)
  • Missing lateral incisors: A canine tooth right next to a central incisor may not result in an esthetic smile. Hence, cosmetic dentists prefer reshaping the canines into laterals through enameloplasty.

Teeth reshaping or tooth recontouring to change the shape, size, and/or surface. Image depecting the before and after of a patient.

How Do You Do An Odontoplasty?

Below we’ve outlined the teeth reshaping procedure step by step:

1. Tooth trimming:

The teeth that need to be contoured are first identified, after which, the dentist trims the enamel to achieve the desired shape. As the enamel is devoid of nerves, the procedure is absolutely painless. However, patients who anticipate discomfort can be given local anesthesia.

2. Instruments use:

If the proximal sides of the teeth are to be reduced, abrasive strips and discs attached to slow-speed handpieces can be used. In addition, conventional burs (drills) can be used to reduce the incisal/occlusal edges. 8) Lastly, specialized lasers for dental recontouring can also help give a good finish. (7)

"What is an IPR kit? A kit that includes IPR stripping tools "

3. Tooth polishing:

After recontouring, the teeth are polished to achieve a glossy finish. The primary focus here is to create smooth tooth surfaces, as rough areas attract plaque accumulation and lead to dental decay.

5. Benefits of Enameloplasty

The benefits of enameloplasty or tooth recontouring are many:

  • Conservative: One of the most minimally invasive procedures in cosmetic dentistry.
  • Painless: As nerves are not present in the enamel layer, patients generally do not experience much pain or discomfort during this procedure.
  • No need for recovery: Individuals can eat or drink as usual and resume their daily activities soon after the procedure.
  • Protection from oral issues like decay: Areas on the teeth with a high chance of plaque accumulation (like deep pits and grooves) can be recontoured to protect the teeth from bacterial attack and prevent dental decay.
  • Improved self-esteem: A pleasant smile works wonders for one’s self-esteem and boosts self-confidence.
  • Not time-consuming: As the procedure is quite quick, it can be completed within a single session itself.

6. Alternatives to enameloplasty

While enameloplasty is a quick and inexpensive option, it may not be an ideal treatment option in every case. One can consider alternatives such as

  • Composite fillings: In this technique, the composite resin is used to build up deformities like chipped or cracked portions of the teeth.
  • Crowns or bridges: If the teeth have deep caries, then crowns are considered ideal for restoring the lost tooth structure.
  • Veneers: Both composite or porcelain veneers can be used to make cosmetic adjustments on the teeth. They work well for teeth with defects like discolorations or shape irregularities but come at a much higher cost than composite bonding or crowns.

Image depicting dental veneers or porcelain veneers before and after in a men.

Recovery & Follow-Up

There is no need for a recovery period as one is fit to resume his normal activities soon after enameloplasty. The procedure will not exceed more than a single session. Fluoride varnish can be applied after the session, and the patient can be advised to use fluoridated mouthwash and toothpaste along with their regular oral hygiene routine.


Enameloplasty is an excellent procedure to help fix minor issues related to the shape, form, or alignment of teeth. It can be done on chipped, pointed, or slightly misshapen teeth. It helps in preventing dental decay and enhances the efficiency of pit and fissure sealants. It may not be an ideal treatment option in every case. A thorough clinical evaluation can help determine whether enameloplasty can resolve dental issues in your patient.



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