The Tooth Files: Dos And Don’ts Of Teeth Filing

There are countless numbers of instructional videos online. Some of them are legitimately helpful, but others offer instructions about subjects they have no business instructing anyone about. If you come across a video that claims to show you how to safely file your teeth to improve their appearance—click on something else. There is a way to safely file your teeth, but this isn't something you can do yourself.  

Your Smile

Filing a tooth (or teeth) is intended to modify the appearance of a person's smile. It's a typical treatment when a smile needs symmetry. A single tooth (for example, an upper left canine) may have been chipped, or naturally developed to a slightly different shape to its counterpart (which would be the upper right canine). Filing the tooth brings its physical shape into line with its counterpart. There are undoubtedly many valid reasons for teeth filing.


There are no valid reasons for filing your teeth at home. The so-called recommended equipment can easily be sourced but certainly isn't intended for use on a tooth's structure. And yet, this method is likely to mean that the rest of the tooth's structure will eventually be worn away—courtesy of catastrophic (and quite painful) tooth decay.

Teeth Layers

The strong outer layer of a tooth is made of highly-mineralized dental enamel. Beneath this enamel is dentin, and this substance forms most of a tooth's mass. Dentin needs the protection of enamel, otherwise, it's quite susceptible to corrosion from sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates. This corrosion is tooth decay, and without the enamel to protect it, the tooth's nerve can quickly become infected, which is extremely uncomfortable. However, there's a time and a place for teeth filing—at your local dental clinic.

At the Dental Clinic

Dentists are the only ones qualified to file teeth. They do so in a sterile, surgical-grade environment, and only after a thorough analysis of the tooth. Filing will only be performed if it can be accomplished while leaving a sufficiently thick layer of dental enamel. Without this, the tooth's inner structure will be exposed, leading to the previously-mentioned tooth decay and discomfort. It may be that the tooth cannot be safely filed. Instead, a dentist can add ultra-strong tooth-colored composite resin to the tooth and shape it to match its counterpart. Filing isn't the only way to achieve symmetry. 

If you think you're in need of teeth filing, this is something to talk to your dentist about. However, anyone who files their teeth at home will need to urgently speak to their dentist in the not-too-distant future.

Contact a local dentist to learn more.