Ask the Expert: I don't like the shape of my teeth. What are my options?

"I don't like the color and shape of my teeth. What are my options?"

Changing the color of your teeth with the home bleaching system consists of a dental team member taking impressions of the upper and/or lower teeth and constructing custom-made bleaching trays. The dental team member then presents the patient with the bleaching compound best suited for his or her needs, the custom-made trays, teaches the patient to administer the solution, and checks the fit and accuracy of the trays. A variety of take home bleaching systems exists through your local dentist. Some systems allow you to bleach your teeth one hour, four hours, or over night while sleeping. Usually, the home bleaching system is used for two weeks to achieve the desired shade. Of course, the amount of time needed depends on the kind of severity of tooth stain, the natural shade of the teeth, along with the habits such as smoking or coffee and tea drinking. Heavy smoking may cause tar deposits to form around the margins of all restorations, therefore, the patient needs to exhibit sound oral hygiene including daily flossing, and regular dental cleaning.

Porcelain veneers can permanently change the color of your teeth and generally, will not stain. Veneers can also be used to reshape teeth and/or close the spaces between teeth. The patient usually participates i the selection of shading during the construction of the veneers. The advantages of veneers include: a more consistent shade, a more uniform look and a more stable restoration when compared to bonding.

Reshaping the teeth through cosmetic contouring is an in-office dental procedure by which the shape of the teeth is changed using a dental hand piece. Your dentist can perform this procedure.

Bonding with composite resin material is another way to change the shape of your teeth, and close spaces between teeth. The resin material can accumulate stain depending on the patient's diet, oral habits, and oral hygiene proficiency.