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How to File Teeth After Getting Braces

Updated February 21, 2017

After having braces removed, some people choose to have their teeth filed to further enhance their smiles. Even though the teeth are aligned, there might be a slight unevenness in length, or a chipped tooth or an overly pronounced canine. Also, the adhesive used to bond the braces to the teeth can leave a gritty residue that needs to be removed. There are some minor risks, but the process is generally safe and effective.

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  1. Ask yourself why you want to have your teeth filed. Most people consider tooth filing because they are unhappy with an imperfection or unevenness of the teeth. But, keep in mind that tooth filing can result in increased sensitivity and also wears away at the surface enamel. Enamel helps protect your teeth from cavities and helps prevent staining. There is also a chance that filing between teeth may cause them to reset over time. So take some time and think it over.

  2. Consult with your dentist. Don't be afraid to ask questions and tell your dentist exactly what you want. Find out what instruments he will be using and how he cleans them. Orthodontists usually use a rotary tool with a diamond tip and hand tools for more specific contour work. But wearing away too much of the enamel can damage nerves and promote tooth decay, which might result in a root canal later. Also, anesthetic isn't normally used but your teeth may be sensitive if you just got your braces removed. If it helps, bring a picture of the perfect smile and show it to him to give him something to go by.

  3. Any type of dental work leaves your teeth sensitive, but filing will reduce the protective outer layer and could make eating and drinking a little difficult at first. Cold and hot beverages, especially might cause discomfort, so for a while it would be best to drink through a straw or drink only room temperature liquids. Be careful, as acidic foods and beverages, like oranges, can also irritate the area. Normal brushing is OK as long as you go easy on the treated areas, but you might decide to switch to a sensitive toothpaste for a little while.

  4. Warning

    Excessive filing can change the musculature of your face. Filing can change the "bite" of your teeth while chewing. If your teeth aren't strong enough to handle filing they could chip or break. Once your enamel is removed it doesn't come back.

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About the Author

Terry Hollis began writing professionally in 1999. His work has appeared in "Dance Insider Magazine," on BLARE.com and for short story readings at Emory University in Atlanta, where he now lives. He received his Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Morehouse College.

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