How Much Does Shaving Teeth Cost?

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Shaving the teeth, also referred to as dental contouring, interproximal reduction or an enameloplasty, is the process of removing a small amount of enamel from the tooth.  This cosmetic procedure will alter the length and/or shape of the tooth, and the overall goal is to narrow the teeth.  According to everyday health, even a few millimeters in the right places can greatly improve the appearance of your teeth.

This procedure is often recommended to those who want to either make a tiny tooth adjustment or improve the look of a few teeth.  According to most dentists, this procedure is commonly done on teeth that are slightly crooked or when one tooth may stick out more than another.

Dentist by HerryLawford, on Flickr
Dentist” (CC BY 2.0) by HerryLawford

How much does shaving teeth cost?

The cost of shaving teeth will depend on the dentist performing the procedure, the geographical location, the complexity of the situation and amount of teeth that need to be shaved.  On average, this procedure can range anywhere from $70 to as much as $250 per tooth without insurance.

Everyday Health says this is an inexpensive way to improve the look of your teeth, often costing $50 to $300 per tooth, depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.  If this defect was caused by an accident, for instance, then there’s a good chance your dental policy may cover the procedure.

Shaving teeth overview

This procedure is commonly done to narrow the teeth, fix tooth crowding or fix teeth with a width discrepancy.   Shaving teeth, most of the time, is commonly done to close the gap between the teeth, which sometimes happen when braces are put on.

Shaving can be performed by either using a dental drill used to trim the teeth or it can be done by hand, where the dentist uses diamond coated strips that are worked back and forth between the teeth.  The method the dentist will choose all depends on the amount of enamel that needs to be trimmed off. says if it’s a small amount that needs to be removed, usually .3mm or less, then the dentist will often use their hands, but if it’s a larger reduction, a drill will more than likely be used.

What are the extra costs?

Before the procedure, dental x-rays may be taken to make sure your teeth are healthy enough for the procedure.  Some offices may tie the x-ray costs into the procedure, while others may charge this separately.  Dental x-rays are commonly $50 to $100 extra, depending on the number of x-rays required.

During the procedure, the dentist will mark your teeth with a specialized highlighter to show you the areas that need to be resculpted.  A sanded instrument will then be used to eliminate imperfections on the tooth, essentially “shaving” it.  Finally, the tooth will be smoothed out and polished.

Shaving your teeth is often the stepping stone to other procedures in the future.  Other procedures such as veneers, crown lengthening, and tooth whitening is often performed months after once the patient can afford it.

Touch-up work may be required, depending on your situation.

Tips to know:

Because only the enamel is removed, the process tends to be painless and no anesthesia is required.  Depending on the method the dentist uses, it will either feel like a slight tug between the teeth or a slight vibration of a drill.

Removing minor overlaps and imperfections can help lower the risk of decay or gum disease.

How can I save money?

You may want to check with your insurance company to see if they can provide coverage for the service.  They may be able to provide full or partial coverage for the service if it’s deemed medically necessary.  You might only be responsible for the deductible or copay.  If you don’t have insurance, offers dental plans that can help you save up to 60% on your visits to local dentists, acting like an insurance policy.

In some cases, this can actually be the most inexpensive option to consider.  For example, if a few of your teeth had an imperfect look, the dentist could perform this procedure, preventing you from getting costly braces in the future.

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