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What Should I Expect During My Routine Cleaning and Exam?

By | dental cleaning

The doctors and staff of Ocean View Dental Care believe that preventative treatments are key to staying ahead of dental problems. We recommend that patients visit our San Clemente, CA dental practice twice a year for cleanings and exams. Patients who have risk factors for gum disease or tooth decay may benefit from more frequent visits. 

Benefits of Routine Cleanings and Exams

Dental cleanings and exams are preventative treatments that allow you to avoid potentially costly restorative treatments. Two common dental problems that can be effectively treated during these visits are gum disease and tooth decay. Mild forms of gum disease (gingivitis) are easily treatable by undergoing twice-a-year dental cleanings and maintaining good oral hygiene habits. 

If a member of our dental team sees signs of gum disease, you will be given tips and advice on how to address gum disease before it poses a more serious danger to your oral health. Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in this country, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Exams allow one of our doctors to detect the early stages of tooth decay. If one of our doctors sees a small cavity, the small pit or hole can be cleaned and filled with little to no discomfort. Exams also allow patients to identify other problems (bruxism, TMJ disorder, oral cancer, impacted teeth) before they cause serious complications. To diagnose dental problems in their early stages, our office offers advanced technology, including digital imaging.

Dental Cleaning Overview

Twice-a-year dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup. Tartar is calcified plaque that cannot be removed at home. Only the special tools employed by a trained oral hygienist can remove the pockets of buildup. Our office offers the Cavitron, an ultrasonic scaling system. The Cavitron removes tartar quickly and efficiently. The advanced device also has less of an impact on the patient’s teeth because less pressure is applied to the teeth and jaws. Many of our San Clemente patients report that the device delivers a more comfortable cleaning experience.

Dental Exam Overview

Dental exams can be scheduled during your cleanings. Exams typically involve a visual exam of your teeth and jawbone and the taking of x-rays. Our advanced digital x-rays can determine if you have problems related to the oral structure (teeth, jaws, and sinuses). During your exam, one of our doctors will look for signs of lesions, oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay. If you are found to have a minor dental problem, the issue may be treated during your visit. If you require more extensive treatment, a member of our dental team will schedule a follow-up visit before you leave.

Exams are also a great time for patients to report any discomfort or oral health problems they have noticed. If you have any questions or concerns, these twice-a-year visits are a great to time glean advice from an experienced oral healthcare professional. 

Schedule Your Next Visit to Your San Clemente Dentist Today

Staying ahead of dental problems can save you money in the long term. We are currently running a $79 adult cleaning, x-ray, and exam special for new patients who do not have insurance. The package deal is worth $375. To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our staff online or call (949) 388-0780.

How to Care for Your Tooth Crown

By | cosmetic dentistry, cracked tooth, dental crown

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over teeth following a restorative treatment. The crowns are made from a variety of materials: composite resins, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or metal. Porcelain crowns have become a popular material in recent years. Porcelain matches the color and luster of natural teeth. 

The doctors of Ocean View Dental Care in San Clemente, CA offer dental crowns that are fabricated from durable materials that can withstand the pressures of chewing and biting. With proper care, dental crowns can last 10, 15, or even 20 years. By following simple tips and visiting our office twice a year, patients can avoid accidentally damaging their restoration. 

Common Causes of Damaged Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are designed to withstand normal wear and tear. If a crown is damaged, it is usually due to the restoration being used to bite something hard, like bone or hard candy. Biting dense objects can prematurely wear or even damage your crown. Bad habits can also lead to the dislodging of dental crowns. If your crown becomes damaged or dislodged, one of our doctors can repair or replace the crown at our San Clemente dental practice. 

Common causes of damage to dental crowns include:

  • Crooked teeth: Misaligned teeth place disproportionate pressure on certain areas of your bite. If you have teeth alignment problems, consider undergoing orthodontic treatments.
  • Trauma: Even the strongest dental crowns can become chipped or dislodged following a blow to the face. Consider wearing a mouthguard to prevent unintentional damage during sports activities. 
  • Bruxism: If you grind your teeth at night, the habit can wear or damage your dental crown. If you grind your teeth, please let a member of our dental team know.
  • Gum disease: Untreated gum disease can weaken the natural tooth that supports your crown. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and visiting our dental practice for regular cleanings can help you stay ahead of gum disease. 
  • Poor habits: We ask all of our patients to refrain from using their dental crowns to tear or pry open objects.
  • Dietary considerations: Be mindful of what you bite. Dental crowns are designed to be durable, but they should not be used to bite hard objects. Certain candies or other hard objects can dislodge or break dental crowns.

Maintaining healthy gums and underlying tooth structure is important. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss. We recommend that patients visit our office at least twice a year for cleanings and exams. During your routine visits, one of our doctors will closely examine your dental crown to ensure that the restoration is strongly bonded. Your dentist will also check the health of the surrounding gum tissue to ensure that you are free of gum disease. 

If your dental crown hurts or feels loose or damaged, contact our office immediately. Even with careful maintenance, dental crowns will eventually need to be replaced. One of our doctors can remove the crown, take images of the underlying tooth, and have your crown fabricated at a trusted laboratory.  

Schedule Your Dental Crown Consultation Today

 

With proper care, dental crowns can last for 10, 15, or even 20 years. By following the tips outlined in this blog and visiting our office, you can ensure that your investment serves your smile for many years. To schedule your dental crown consultation, please contact our office online or call (949) 388-0780.

 

Tips for Maintaining Your Smile After Teeth Whitening

By | cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening

A white smile can leave you looking healthier and several years younger. If you are ready to say goodbye to dental stains and discoloration, our San Clemente dental practice offers in-office and take-home teeth whitening kits. Once completed, the safe and effective cosmetic treatment can brighten your smile by several shades. 

After you have undergone teeth whitening treatments, you will want to take steps to maintain your whiter smile. The tips listed in this blog can help you retain your cosmetic results for years. Even the best oral hygiene habits and careful attention to avoiding staining foods and drinks won’t prevent discoloration forever. When you are ready to undergo another whitening treatment, our friendly dental team will help you find the best whitening procedure to reach your cosmetic goals. 

Tips for Maintaining Your Whiter Smile

On average, teeth whitening results will last for around three years. Patients can play a proactive role in maintaining their brighter smile by scheduling regular cleanings at our dental practice and following these tips.

Try Using an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes offer many advantages over non-electric toothbrushes. The high frequencies that electric brushes can reach are better at removing calcified deposits of plaque. The electronic oral hygiene devices also have timers that remind users to brush for a full two minutes. Electric toothbrushes reach areas that traditional toothbrushes simply cannot. 

Avoid Stain-Causing Foods

We all know which foods stain our teeth. Many of these foods and drinks, unfortunately, are popular. While you don’t have to completely abstain from sports drinks and blueberry pie, the cosmetic benefits of cutting back may be worth it. Using a straw when drinking iced coffee or tea is another trick that can save your pearly whites from staining. 

While it’s not an “off-limits” list, you may want to consider cutting back on or avoiding certain types of:

  • Berries
  • Tomato sauce
  • Pomegranates
  • Tumeric
  • Curries
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sports drinks
  • Paprika

On the “bright” side, certain foods can actually whiten your teeth. Cheese and apples promote the production of saliva, which can wash away harmful bacteria and restore minerals. Celery, nuts, broccoli, and other course foods can actively scrape off stains and plaque. 

Whitening Toothpastes Do Work

While whitening toothpaste will not deliver the drastic results of professional whitening treatments at our San Clemente dental practice, the abrasive ingredients found in these oral hygiene products can aid in the removal of surface stains. Consider using a whitening toothpaste after eating a stain-causing food or drink. Baking soda is also an effective cleaning agent that can whiten enamel. 

Nothing Beats Good Oral Hygiene Habits 

If you follow nothing else from this blog, remember to floss and brush at least twice a day. Using a cosmetic or therapeutic mouthwash can also aid in the removal of staining agents. Bright, white teeth should be the product of a healthy smile. 

Schedule Additional Whitening Treatments

Even when all of these tips are followed, enamel will tend to discolor with age. Many of our patients schedule teeth whitening treatments every few years to maintain their youthful smile. If you use our take-home whitening kits, you can perform your own periodic touch-ups as needed.

Schedule Your Cosmetic Treatment Today

 

We love seeing our patients boast teeth that are both healthy and attractive. If you are in good oral health but desire a more attractive smile, we offer dental bonding, teeth whitening, and veneers to brighten your smile. To schedule your cosmetic consultation with our office, please contact our staff online or call (949) 388-0780.

Why does a cracked tooth need a crown and not a filling?

By | cracked tooth, dental crown

Since a dental crown comes with a much higher price tag than a filling, many patients wonder if a crown is really needed when their dentist recommends one. While there are times a filling could be a viable treatment option over a crown, if you have a cracked tooth, a filling won’t give your tooth the protection it needs.

A cracked or broken tooth cannot repair itself like a broken bone can. And since a cracked tooth can lead to an infection that spreads to the gums, bone, and other teeth, it is imperative to keep an infection from occurring. It is also important to protect the integrity of the tooth to prevent further damage. This requires more than a filling.

At Ocean View Dental Care in San Clemente, CA, our dentists always look for and offer the most conservative treatment options possible. However, there are times that a dental crown is the most conservative option. In fact, depending on the type of crack in your tooth, even a dental crown may not be enough.

What causes a cracked tooth?

There are many ways to damage and crack your teeth, and as we age, our teeth can weaken, putting them at an increased risk of damage. Previous dental work also weakens teeth, especially large fillings.

Other common causes for a cracked tooth include:

  • Pressure and force from jaw clenching or teeth grinding, also known as bruxism
  • Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, athletic injury, or blow to the jaw
  • Chewing hard items, such as ice, nuts, hard candy, or popcorn kernels
  • Abrupt changes in temperature, such as eating something extremely hot then using ice water to cool the mouth

Protect your teeth from breakage by avoiding things that damage teeth. Do not use your teeth as “tools” to open things and stay away from chewing hard items, especially if you have had previous dental work. If you participate in sports or suffer from bruxism, discuss this with your dentist. You may want to get a customized mouthguard to protect your teeth.

It is also important to maintain good oral hygiene. Keep your teeth strong by flossing daily, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and visiting your dentist regularly.

How many ways can a tooth be cracked?

There are several types of cracks, and the type of crack determines the needed treatment. When the damage involves the roots and nerves, root canal therapy or extraction may be required.

In industrialized nations, a cracked tooth is the leading cause of tooth loss.

A cracked tooth can be:

  • If the crack only involves the enamel of your tooth, you most likely won’t need any treatment. These surface cracks, called craze lines, are quite common and, most often, cause no symptoms. However, craze lines are more susceptible to staining, making them more obvious. Treatment for this is cosmetic and could include teeth whitening or composite bonding to reduce visibility.
  • Fractured cusp. This most commonly occurs around a filling and does not involve the center of the tooth. Because the nerves are not involved, you may not experience pain or tooth sensitivity. This type of crack requires a dental crown.
  • A crack that involves the tooth pulp. This type of crack may necessitate a root canal to protect it from further weakening or infection. After root canal therapy, you will need a crown.
  • A crack that extends into the gum line. When a vertical crack does not reach the gum line, your dentist should be able to save the tooth. However, if the crack extends into or beyond the gum line, you may require an extraction.
  • Split tooth. When a crack travels from the surface to beyond the gum line, the tooth can separate into segments. Most likely, this will require extraction, but your dentist may be able to save a portion of it.
  • Vertical root fracture. This crack begins below the gum and travels up the tooth. This type of crack may not produce many symptoms unless infection sets in. Usually, this type of fracture requires extraction.

Contact Ocean View Dental Today

Do you have pain when you bite down, experience sensitivity to cold, heat, or sweets, or have swelling of the gum surrounding a tooth? If so, you may have a cracked tooth.

If you live in the San Clemente, CA area and suspect you have a cracked tooth, call us at (949) 388-0780 or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.

Remember, a cracked tooth cannot repair itself and can lead to serious problems. Prompt treatment gives you the best chance of preventing infection and saving your tooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Clemente Dentists Explain: When are dental implants necessary?

By | dental implant

Your San Clemente dentist can restore missing teeth using a variety of restorative treatments. Traditional restorations allow Dr. Andrew Higgins or Dr. Pichak Kelk to attach a durable prosthetic that replaces one or more missing teeth. Dental implants offer superior stability and unique oral health benefits. If you live in or around San Clemente, CA and are wondering when dental implants are necessary, this overview will help.

What Makes Dental Implants Unique?

We are proud to offer restorative treatments like dental crowns and dental bridges at our San Clemente dental practice. A dental crown is a durable and natural-looking “cap” that completely covers the surface of a damaged tooth, often after root canal therapy. If you are missing multiple consecutive teeth, you can benefit from a dental bridge. 

A fixed dental bridge fills gaps in a patient’s smile. The dental bridge places a pontic (prosthetic crown) that is held in place by two neighboring dental crowns. Like crowns, bridges can be custom-made to blend in with the patient’s natural smile. 

While these restorative options offer a quality replacement for missing teeth, dental implants offer many unique benefits.

Superior Stability

Dental implants and implant-retained prosthetics offer superior stability. The key to this unique restorative feature are the titanium posts that are placed in the patient’s jawbone. Once the implant fully heals, the restoration is attached via a metal device called an abutment. When your dental crown or bridge is anchored to bone, the false teeth feel and function like natural teeth. This benefit is particularly noticeable when eating tough or chewy food items like steak. 

A Lifelong Solution to Tooth Loss

Once your dental implant is placed at our San Clemente dental practice, the titanium post will begin to fuse with your jawbone tissue through a natural process called osseointegration. This process effectively makes the implant a functioning and permanent part of your body. With proper oral hygiene and regular checkups, dental implants can last for a lifetime. 

A Base to Support Multiple Prosthetics

Once placed, dental implants can support individual crowns, a dental bridge, partial denture, or full denture. No matter how many missing teeth you have, your San Clemente dentist can address your tooth loss using dental implants.

Oral Health Benefits

Tooth roots stimulate bone growth. Following the loss of one or more teeth, bone atrophy becomes a serious oral health risk. By placing one or more dental implants following tooth loss, you can prevent the loss of bone mass. Traditional restorations do not offer this oral health benefit.

How Long Will My Treatment Last?

Each patient heals at different rates. The average treatment timeline for dental implants is three to six months. If you have suffered jawbone atrophy, you may require bone graft surgery, which can add months to your overall treatment timeline.

Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation Today

Your San Clemente dentists are ready to explain the dental implant treatment process in depth. Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss that promotes bone strength. If you are planning to undergo a tooth extraction, now is the time to begin planning for your dental implant placement. 

Many of our San Clemente patients seek dental implants are a replacement for traditional dental bridges or other restorations. To schedule your next visit, please contact our office online or call (949) 388-0780.

What are the benefits of invisible braces?

By | Invisalign

Since its release in 1999, Invisalign clear aligners have revolutionized modern orthodontics. Teenagers and adults of all ages can now enjoy discreet and comfortable orthodontic treatments that deliver drastic and predictable results. Ocean View Dental Care is proud to offer clear aligner treatments for patients in San Clemente, CA. Our community-focused practice always puts your comfort and satisfaction first.

Benefits of Invisalign

Braces deliver life-changing and undeniably important cosmetic results, but the treatment process hasn’t always been user-friendly. Traditional metal braces can irritate gums. The periodic wire tightenings are notoriously unpleasant, and few patients would say that they enjoy having metal brackets and wires obscure their smile.

Invisible braces address all of those common complaints. Patients who undergo discreet and comfortable Invisalign treatments can enjoy these proven benefits.

No dietary restrictions

Traditional metal braces require dietary restrictions and strict oral hygiene habits. Hard or crunchy foods can break wires or dislodge brackets. Chewy foods can be difficult to remove. Our San Clemente dental patients simply remove their invisible braces when eating. There are no dietary restrictions, although we recommend that patients take care to keep food particles from building up inside the clear aligners.

A faster and reliable treatment

Due to advanced SmartTrack material and other patented technologies, Invisalign offers proven results along a predictable timeline. When you begin your orthodontic treatment, one of our doctors will provide you with the exact timeline of your treatment. Knowing how long your treatment will last allows our San Clemente patients to plan accordingly. 

A discreet treatment

Many of our patients cite Invisalign’s discreet treatments as their favorite feature of this orthodontic treatment. When properly cleaned, few people (if any) will be able to tell that you are wearing aligner trays. Invisalign trays are barely noticeable when speaking, meaning the aligner trays truly are the most discreet orthodontic option on the market.

Greater comfort

Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign uses gentle micromovements to nudge teeth into better alignment. Each successive tray is straighter than the preceding tray. The invisible braces do not require uncomfortable wire tightenings. Patients may experience brief pressure when placing new trays, but the majority of our patients report that their orthodontic treatments are surprisingly comfortable. 

Invisalign SmartTrack Material

Invisalign’s SmartTrack material was released in 2013. Align Technology spent eight years researching the technology and explored 260 different materials. SmartTrack material is designed specifically for orthodontic treatments and fits precisely to a patient’s tooth morphology and attachments.

Photo-ready results

Does teeth misalignment leave you embarrassed to smile? Having a beautiful and attractive smile can lead to professional success, personal fulfillment, and rewarding romantic relations. Invisalign clear aligners correct a wide range of alignment issues, including gaps between teeth. Once your treatment timeline is complete, you can enjoy your new, photo-ready smile for the rest of your life. 

Schedule Your Invisalign Consultation Today

Let the expert staff of Ocean View Dental Care give you something to really smile about. Invisible braces are a convenient and effective treatment for misaligned teeth. To schedule your next visit to our San Clemente dental practice, contact our staff online or call (949) 388-0780. The Ocean View Dental Care team looks forward to seeing you soon. Come see why our patients can’t stop smiling!