Cosmetic Dentistry

In the past decade there’s been a dramatic interest in cosmetic dentistry. We all realize that having a healthy, bright, beautiful smile enhances our appearance and allows us to smile with confidence. Thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, we are able to improve our teeth and smile with quick, painless and surprisingly affordable treatments.

Cosmetic dental treatments can:
  • Change the size, shape and alignment of certain teeth
  • Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth
  • Improve or correct bites
  • Lighten or brighten the color of teeth
  • Repair decayed, broken, cracked, or chipped teeth
  • Replace missing teeth.
  • Replace old, unattractive dental treatments.

Remember, your smile speaks before you even say a word!

Bonding

Bonding is a cosmetic procedure that allows the dentist to reshape or repair your smile using composite resin. Cosmetic bonding is particularly ideal if you’re insecure about the appearance of your smile or want an affordable alternative to invasive and more costly procedures such as orthodontics or veneers. With bonding, chipped or uneven teeth can be repaired easily and affordably, restoring your self-confidence. Additionally, bonding is often completed in a single visit and doesn’t require any anesthetic!

As with most cosmetic procedures, bonding will wear and discolor over time, eventually needing to be replaced; however, bonding is very durable and typically lasts many years.

Reasons for cosmetic bonding:
  • Closing spaces or gaps
  • Fixing chipped teeth
  • Fixing decayed teeth (teeth with cavities)
  • Lengthening uneven teeth
  • Protecting roots exposed by receding gums
  • Restoring badly discolored teeth

What does dental bonding involve?

To begin, the dentist will isolate the teeth included in the procedure, etching them in preparation for bonding.  After applying the etching conditioning liquid, the surface of the teeth will have small crevices that allow the tooth stronger adhesion with the bonding agent.

The dentist will then apply a bonding resin which cements the composite in place.  After several layers of tooth-colored composite are applied, the composite and bonding resin are shaped and hardened with a specially calibrated light.  Once the composite is fully set, the bonded areas are smoothed, buffed, and polished to blend in naturally with the surrounding teeth.

If you want to regain confidence in your smile, contact our practice to learn more about bonding.

White Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc.  The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  As dental professionals, we believe in restoring your teeth and giving you the best options available in the dental field. Here at Affinity Dental Group we only use composite fillings, because composite fillings are tooth colored and can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or more visible areas of the mouth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced.  They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings:
  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment.  While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as needed.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed.  If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection.  The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Dental Implants

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Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures.  Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist - a specialist of the gums and supporting bone.  The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!

Dental implants are strong and durable and will last many years.  On occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.

Reasons for dental implants:
  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
  • Restore a patient’s confident smile.
  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making it more secure and comfortable.

What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.

After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.

You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed.  Good oral hygiene and eating habits, alongside regular dental visits, will aid in the life of your new implant.

If you have questions about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.

LUMINEERS®

LUMINEERS® are an excellent option for people who are unhappy with the cosmetic appearance of their teeth.  These ultra-thin, porcelain slips fit perfectly over teeth, making them look cosmetically perfect and completely beautiful.  An off-white or crooked smile can cause serious confidence problems.  LUMINEERS® are a fantastic alternative for patients wanting a beautiful smile without surgery, harsh chemicals or painful treatments.

For LUMINEERS® to be applied, the underlying teeth, bone and gums must be healthy.  Patients with gum disease or tooth decay must be treated prior to LUMINEERS® placement.  Unlike dental veneers, LUMINEERS® can be left in place for over 20 years or removed upon request to expose the intact original teeth.  LUMINEERS® can be fitted in just two appointments, and instantly add pizzazz to the smile.

Here are some of the problems that LUMINEERS® can solve:
  • Large gaps between the teeth.
  • Misaligned teeth.
  • Misshapen teeth.
  • Stained teeth.
  • Uneven gums and teeth.
  • Unnatural looking bridges and crowns.

How can LUMINEERS® benefit me?

LUMINEERS® provide a wide range of advantages over similar treatments.  The most meaningful advantage to anxious patients is that no painful alterations of the teeth are required prior to the LUMINEERS® application.  The covers themselves are so thin and unobtrusive that speech and eating are seldom affected.

Here are some of the other advantages of LUMINEERS®:
  • Last over 20 years.
  • No harsh drilling of inner tooth mechanisms.
  • No injections.
  • No pain or discomfort.
  • Only two dental visits required.
  • Option to place multiple LUMINEERS® at one time.
  • Perfect, pearly-white teeth.
  • Thickness of a contact lens.
  • Totally reversible treatment.

Are LUMINEERS® strong enough?

LUMINEERS® are constructed from Cerinate® porcelain, which is known for its exceptional strength.  Even though LUMINEERS®are thinner than dental veneers, they are less likely to break or chip.  Additionally, Cerinate® porcelain can be color-modified and balanced.  This means that different levels of opaqueness and translucency can be utilized.

How are LUMINEERS® applied to the teeth?

One of the main reasons LUMINEERS® are so easy to fit is that little etching has to be done beforehand.  With veneers, many teeth might have to be permanently altered or drilled to ensure the best fit.  However, LUMINEERS® offer a beautiful end product without any drilling, anesthesia or extensive etching.  This factor alone can reduce the time in the dental chair by almost half, when compared to traditional veneers.

During the initial visit, bite impressions and X-rays are taken to determine the exact way the teeth fit together.  The dentist also thoroughly examines the teeth to ensure that no tooth decay and no signs of gum disease are present.  Together, the dentist and patient choose the color of the LUMINEERS® and the desired level of transparency.  The bite impressions are sent to the laboratory to be custom-crafted.

The LUMINEERS® are bonded to the teeth at the second appointment.  If bonding substance has oozed out from beneath the LUMINEERS®, this is carefully removed using a beveled featheredge margin.  Once the LUMINEERS® are in place, the dentist polishes them until they are completely smooth.  The advantage of this smoothness is that bacteria and staining agents cannot easily adhere to the surface of the LUMINEERS®.

The LUMINEERS® are finally separated.  Up until this point, they are still attached where the bite impressions suggest teeth would naturally join.  The treatment is finished, leaving a beautiful white smile, and perfect, healthy teeth.

If you have questions or concerns about LUMINEERS®, please contact out practice.

LUMINEERS® and Cerinate® are registered trademarks of Den-Mat Holdings LLC.

Porcelain Crowns (Caps)

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size.  A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular, because they resemble your natural teeth.  They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced.  Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.

Reasons for crowns:
  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
  • Tooth has a root canal.

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown.  A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown.  Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Porcelain Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges.  You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case.  The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal.  Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth.  This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years; however, they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.

Reasons for a fixed bridge:
  • Fill space of missing teeth.
  • Maintain facial shape.
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability.
  • Restore your smile.
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.

What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits.  While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown.  Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated.  In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit.  Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge.  The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment.  Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

Porcelain Inlays

An inlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  Porcelain inlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth.  A porcelain inlay is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.

Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings.  Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.

As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement.  They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for inlay restorations:
  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an inlay involve?

An inlay procedure usually requires two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration.  A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.

Porcelain Onlays

An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  Porcelain onlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth.  An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown.  Porcelain onlays are made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.

Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays.  Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement.  They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for onlay restorations:
  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an onlay involve?

An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration.  A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory.  They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.

Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile.  They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many dental conditions.

As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement.  They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for porcelain veneers:
  • Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.
  • Crooked teeth.
  • Misshapen teeth.
  • Severely discolored or stained teeth.
  • Teeth that are too small or large.
  • Unwanted or uneven spaces.
  • Worn or chipped teeth.

What does getting porcelain veneers involve?

Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process, with little or no anesthesia required during the procedure.  The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer.  A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.

On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed with special liquids to achieve a durable bond.  Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special light beam is used to harden and set the bond.

You will receive care instructions for veneers.  Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth.  The most popular method is using a home teeth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically.  Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc.  Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.

Teeth whitening is not permanent.  A touch-up may be needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.

Reasons for teeth whitening:
  • Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
  • Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
  • Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
  • Yellow, brown stained teeth.

What does teeth whitening involve?

This type of teeth whitening usually requires two visits.  At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear, plastic, trays.

At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary.  The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening.  It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.

You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.

Zoom!®

A pearly-white smile is beautiful to look at and can greatly improve self-confidence.  Many people are opting for the Zoom!®Chairside Whitening System (Zoom!®) for fast, safe and effective teeth whitening.  Zoom!® combines the newest advances in dental technology with proven chemical formulas. This ensures that the bleaching experience is painless, and the results are satisfying.

There are many reasons why teeth become stained or discolored, including tobacco use, and drinking dark liquids such as red wine, coffee, tea and cola.  However, the natural aging process and prescription medication use can also cause yellowing and graying.

There are literally hundreds of whitening treatments available in the marketplace, including take-home strips, bleaching toothpastes and take-home whitening gels.  Many take-home gels are ineffective and may not elicit the desired results.

Zoom!® has many advantages over these other treatments, including:
  • All teeth treated simultaneously.
  • Faster treatment times.
  • Longer lasting results.
  • Reduced sensitivity.
  • Removal of stains on crowns, veneers and other restorations.
  • Safe procedure and treatment.
  • Treatments are performed by an experienced professional.

It is important to seek advice from the dentist prior to beginning a bleaching regime.  Women who are pregnant or lactating should not seek bleaching treatment.

How does Zoom!® whiten the teeth?

Zoom!® is a bleaching process that lightens the dentin and enamel of the teeth.  Zoom!® contains a hydrogen peroxide component (25%), which is the active ingredient in the gel.  When hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth, the peroxide component breaks down into tiny oxygen bubbles.  It is these bubbles that eliminate yellowing and staining.

A mercury metal halide light is used to activate the gel and expedite the whitening process.  This specialized light contains a unique infrared filter that works to reduce the amount of heat (and therefore sensitivity) on the surface of the teeth during the procedure.  The internal structure of the teeth remains completely healthy and intact during and after the treatment.

As with any whitening system, the post-treatment results can vary according to the degree of staining and the condition of the teeth.  A consultation with the dentist prior to treatment will provide information as to what kind of results Zoom!® can provide in specific instances.  Zoom!® is only applied to healthy teeth and gums.  If tooth decay or gum disease is an issue, these need to be controlled before the bleaching treatment is performed.

How is the Zoom!® treatment performed?

Prior to treatment, there will be a consultation where the dentist will outline the exact procedure.  On treatment day, a deep cleaning (prophylaxis) will be performed to rid the teeth of any debris and plaque.  Then, special eyewear will be provided to protect the eyes from the halide light, and splashguards to protect the clothing from the bleaching agent.

Here is a brief overview of the Zoom!® procedure:
  1. Cheek retractors will be placed to expose the entire surface of the teeth.
  2. The gums will be painted or covered to reduce sensitivity.
  3. The dentist will apply the whitening gel to the teeth.
  4. The halide light will then be applied to activate the gel.  This specialized Zoom!® light can be positioned to work on all the teeth simultaneously.
  5. After 15 minutes, gel will be removed from the teeth and the mouth will be rinsed.
  6. More gel will be applied for another 15 minutes.
  7. Again, the gel will be removed and the mouth will be thoroughly cleansed.
  8. The final treatment of gel will be applied for 15 minutes.
  9. The gel will be removed for the final time.

What happens after treatment?

The same external factors that caused the discoloration in the first place can quickly work their way back onto the teeth.  For this reason, the dentist recommends flossing once a day, thorough cleaning with anti-sensitivity toothpaste twice a day, and occasional retreatment with Zoom!® Weekender.  These post-treatment measures will ensure that the smile stays at its whitest for a long time.

If you have questions about the Zoom!® Chairside System, please ask your dentist.