teeth before and after treatment
before and after cosmetic dental treatment
before and after porcelain crowns
before cosmetic treatment
orthodontic spacing treatment before and after
after cosmetic treatment

Brushing your teeth is probably a standard part of your daily routine, but chances are you aren’t following the American Dental Association’s guidelines for cleaning your teeth properly. The ADA currently recommends that you brush your teeth at minimum of two times each day – preferably morning and night or anytime you eat foods that contain sugar. When you brush, your toothbrush should be tilted at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. As you brush, be sure to remove debris from every surface of the teeth – including the backs of the teeth, near the gum line, and on chewing surfaces. It is also important to brush your tongue, as bacteria can accumulate there and cause malodorous breath.

Did you know…

that the type of toothbrush you use makes a difference in your oral health? The ADA recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a head that is ergonomically proportioned to the inside of your mouth. Many patients erroneously believe that medium or hard-bristle toothbrushes are more efficient; but these brushes can actually cause abrasions to the teeth and gums, making them more vulnerable to decay. The ADA also recommends replacing your toothbrush about four times yearly or whenever the bristles become frayed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I change my brushing habits?

You may need to change your brushing habits if you are experiencing signs of poor oral hygiene. Examples of common symptoms include bleeding or reddened gums, excessive plaque build-up, decaying teeth and receding gum lines. To find out if you are brushing correctly or if you need to change your brushing habits, make an appointment with your Spring Dental Group dentist for a full consultation.

What should I expect if I begin brushing my teeth correctly?

The benefits of proper tooth brushing techniques may not be experienced immediately, but they are noticeable long-term. Over time, brushing too hard or not brushing enough can produce oral health complications that cannot be reversed and require special treatment. By adopting proper brushing habits, you could avoid expensive dental bills in the future.

Is there anything else I need to do in addition to brushing properly?

Yes. It is important that you also floss daily and use toothpaste that contains fluoride each day. You should also schedule dental exams and professional cleanings in at least twice per year.

Not like this… see below!!

Flossing is a critically important part of an oral hygiene routine, but research suggests that fewer than half of Americans do so daily. Flossing is simple and only takes an extra couple of minutes per day. Developing a healthy habit of flossing can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and it may allow you to keep more of your natural teeth as you age. So what is the most effective means of flossing?

  1. Holding the floss *close to the teeth, pull the floss taught and slide it between two teeth.
  2. Pull against the side of one tooth, creating a “C-shape” and sliding away from the gums to remove plaque.
  3. Pull against the opposite tooth edge using the same technique.
  4. Repeat this process for each tooth until all inner surfaces have been flossed.
  5. Don’t forget to floss the backs of your molars!

Need
some extra tips?

The American Dental Association recommends using a strand of floss approximately 18 inches in length. It is important to only use clean floss as you move between the teeth. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by looping each end of the floss around your fingers and beginning to floss with the area closest to one end. If you have never flossed, be sure to ask your dentist or hygienist for a quick in-person tutorial at your next check-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be flossing?

Yes. The ADA recommends that everyone floss in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, good oral hygiene is essential for prolonging their use and maintaining your oral health.

What types of results
should I get from flossing?

You may not experience immediate results from flossing, but over time, your habit will pay off. Flossing can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – all of which can be highly inconvenient and expensive to treat. A piece of floss that costs just pennies could save you thousands of dollars later on.

Is there anything else I should be doing in addition to flossing?

Yes. In addition to flossing, you should be adopting proper brushing techniques and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for examinations and professional dental cleanings.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign® is an orthodontic appliance system used to inconspicuously treat crowded teeth in adults and teens. This modern approach to braces features a system of clear aligner trays that are worn at all times with the exception of during meals and when brushing or flossing. The trays are custom fitted to the teeth, making them virtually unnoticeable when laughing and talking with other people. Patients receive a sequence of trays, each of which is slightly different than the one before. The aligners provide a slight resistance to the teeth, causing them to move into alignment over time. With Invisalign®, adults and teens can achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted without feeling self-conscious about the mode of treatment.

Did you know?

Wearing Invisalign® aligners is in no way as restrictive as traditional braces. Many adults opt for this system not only because it is discreet, but also because there is no need to change your diet to avoid foods that could damage braces. This is because the Invisalign® system is free of braces and brackets, instead opting for a removable tray that can be taken out prior to meals. Also, Invisalign® fits well into busy adult schedules, as there is no need to attend frequent visits for wire tightening. Most patients simply change to new aligner trays every couple of weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for Invisalign®?

If you have crowded teeth that are embarrassing to you or otherwise preventing you from achieving optimal oral health, Invisalign® could be the solution for you. Visit our office for a complete consultation to find out if you could benefit from clear orthodontics.

What should I expect during my Invisalign® treatment?

You will wear your aligners nearly all of the time, with the exception of one to two hours per day. Invisalign® treatments are different for everyone, but most patients can achieve their ideal smiles within one to two years. During that time, you can expect to make occasional dental visits to monitor your progress.

Will I need any post-treatment care?

Following your treatment, you will no longer need to wear Invisalign® aligners. However, you will need to wear a retainer each day to help protect your new smile. It is also important to continue regular examinations and cleaning as recommended by your dentist.

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or resin that are cemented onto the visible side of teeth at the front of the mouth. They are one of the most common cosmetic dental treatments and are frequently used to increase the visual aesthetics of one’s smile. Their popularity stems from their versatile ability to correct multiple cosmetic concerns, as well as the fact that they are minimally-invasive. Additionally, they can be used to restore a single tooth or an entire smile, as well as everything in between. 

Did You Know?

Veneers can be used to help with tooth sensitivity. Since veneers are placed on the front surface of the teeth, they can act as a barrier between the tooth and the stimuli that cause tooth sensitivity. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Are veneers right for me?

Veneers may be right for you if your teeth are: 

veneer tooth before and after

To determine if veneers are the right cosmetic dental treatment for your smile, schedule a consultation with your Long Beach cosmetic dentist. 

What is the difference between resin and porcelain veneers?

The difference between the two is the materials that they are made of. Composite resin and porcelain and two different dental materials that have their own set of pros and cons. The best material for veneers will depend on your individual preference. At a glance, here are some of the key differences: 

Composite Resin

Porcelain

How are veneers placed?

Porcelain veneer prep

Veneers are placed with a minimally-invasive procedure. To place veneers, your Long Beach dentist will first anesthetize the area so that it is numb. They may also offer you the option of using dental sedation to relax you. Once you are numb and calm, a thin layer of enamel will be removed from your teeth. This is an essential step to guarantee the proper fit of the veneers, as well as to ensure that they blend with the rest of your smile. Since porcelain veneers are thicker than composite resin veneers, they require the removal of more enamel. 

After the affected teeth have been prepared for the placement of veneers, a dental impression or oral scan will be taken. This information will then be sent to a dental lab so they can fabricate veneers that are customized to you. In the meantime, temporary veneers may be placed to protect your teeth until the permanent restoration can be placed. In most cases, it takes about 1-2 weeks to receive your permanent veneers. When they arrive, you will return to your Long Beach dental office to have them cemented in place. 

How do I care for veneers?

To care for your veneers, you will need to maintain good oral hygiene. Therefore, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your Long Beach dental office every six months for a dental checkup and cleaning, are essential. 

Additionally, to prevent damaging your veneers, you will want to avoid damaging behaviors such as chewing ice or pens, biting your nails, smoking, using your teeth to open packages, and teeth grinding or clenching. You will also need to take special care when biting into excessively hard foods and it is recommended that you cut them into smaller pieces and use your back teeth for chewing. 

Cone Beam 3D Imaging is an advanced dental imaging technology that allows for a three-dimensional view of the teeth and supportive structures within the face. With Cone Beam 3D Imaging, a dentist can capture panoramic views of the maxillofacial area in just a few seconds. Cone Beam 3D images offer an enhanced view of the face that can be examined and evaluated from multiple viewing angles. A single image can reveal the relationship between the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, which can aid in treatment planning and administration.

Did you know…

that Cone Beam 3D images are similar to the images available through CT scans? The difference is that there is far less radiation exposure, it takes less time, and the images can easily be obtained in a dental office. Cone Beam 3D images can also be stored digitally for future reference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can Cone Beam and 3D Imaging help me?

Unlike x-rays, which are not detailed and only reveal hard tissues, Cone Beam 3D Imaging reveals the entire craniofacial structure and connective tissues. While your dentist is making plans for oral surgery or dental treatment, the images can be analyzed and manipulated to ensure accuracy and precision.

What should I expect from Cone Beam and 3D Imaging?

Your Cone Beam 3D Imaging experience should be quick, taking approximately 10 seconds to do a complete scan. The image produced will differ from traditional two-dimensional imaging, in that it will be a three-dimensional view of your entire head and face.

What should I expect after I’ve had a Cone Beam 3D scan?

Cone Beam scans are completely painless.There is no pre-scan consultation required or after care instructions.

A common concern of patients is the amount of radiation they’re exposed to during a dental exam. The newest forms of imaging technology employ digital x-rays, which not only employs 90% less radiation than traditional x-rays but provides viewable films to the dental staff immediately. These images can be magnified for highly accurate assessments of dental health.

Composite fillings are tooth-colored, clear, or white fillings that are used as a restorative measure to repair teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. They are made using a dental material called composite resin, which can be color-matched and shaped to match the surrounding tooth structure.  Like other filling materials, composite resin is used to fill-in a dental cavity in order to seal the tooth and prevent further decay. Because of their aesthetic appearance, composite fillings are often used in visible teeth, but they can also be used towards the back of the mouth as well. 

Did You Know?

Composite fillings are one of the most popular dental filling materials used today. This is because they are aesthetic, affordable, and preserve more natural tooth structure than other filling materials. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need a composite filling?

You may need a composite filling if you have a cavity caused by dental decay. Some cavities may not be immediately noticeable, while others may cause symptoms such as toothache, tooth sensitivity, pain while biting, or discolorations on the tooth. Therefore, the only way to know for sure if you need a composite filling is to visit your Long Beach dentist for a dental exam. If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important that you visit your Long Beach dentist before the problem gets worse. 

What should I expect when having a composite filling placed at my Long Beach dental office?

Steps of a dental filling

When having a composite filling placed by your Long Beach dental office, you can expect to start by having the tooth numbed with dental anesthetic. This will prevent you from feeling any discomfort during the procedure. Next, your dentist will remove the decayed tissue and clean the area. They will also apply an acidic solution to the tooth in order to etch the surface for better adhesion of the composite resin. The composite resin will then be applied and hardened one layer at a time. The final layer will be shaped and polished so that it matches the rest of the teeth. In most cases, getting a composite filling only takes about an hour or less. 

What happens after I get a composite filling?

After you have a composite filling placed, you will need to wait until your mouth regains feeling before eating. The dental anesthetic wears off at different rates depending on how your body metabolizes it, however it generally wears off about 1-5 hours after the procedure. Other than waiting for the anesthetic to wear off, there is no post-treatment care required for a composite filling. 

How long do composite fillings last?

Most composite fillings last for about 5-7 years, however yours may have a shorter or longer lifespan depending on its size, location in the mouth, and your oral habits. To maintain your composite filling for longer, it is recommended to practice good oral hygiene and to avoid damaging behaviors. Good oral hygiene consists of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your Long Beach dental office for semi-annual teeth cleanings. Some damaging behaviors to avoid include using your teeth to open things, biting your nail, chewing on ice or pens, smoking, and grinding or clenching your teeth. 

Advancements in modern oral health technology have drastically improved dental treatment in recent years. One such technology – the E4D CAD/CAM system – is making it possible for patients to receive custom created crowns in just one dental visit. E4D is an in-office system that uses sophisticated software and a chairside computer to design, modify and create dental restorations with extreme precision. E4D CAD/CAM technology streamlines the experience into a single visit without sacrificing the quality or aesthetics of your restoration.

Did you know?

that traditional crowns require at least two office visits to place? In fact, it can take weeks to get a crown using the traditional process of preparing the tooth, taking an impression and waiting for a dental lab to return the restoration to your dentist’s office. That is double the waiting room time, double the time off work and double the time spent in a dentist’s chair than if you chose a same-day crown.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the E4D CAD/CAM system work?

Your dentist will prepare your tooth it for a crown.The E4D CAD/CAM technology does not require the use of traditional dental impressions. Instead, the system takes a digital image impression of your teeth and gums, transferring it into the CAD/CAM software system. The computer produces a 3-D image, making it possible for your dentist to customize a restoration and modify it according to your individual needs. The finalized restoration is then milled in the office, rather than a lab, and bonded in place the same day.

In some cases, such as implant supported crowns and certain anterior cases, the prepared tooth is scanned as described above but the image is sent electronically to an outside lab where your crown is fabricated and returned to your dentist for delivery. A small number of cases may require traditional impressions to get the best results.

Are 1-Day crowns of the same quality as traditional crowns?

CAD/CAM restorations are milled from tooth-colored materials like porcelain, the same metal-free restoration you might receive from a dental lab. These metal-free crowns are strong, durable and designed to last many years. E4D CAD/CAM restorations take as little as approximately 20-40 minutes to manufacture. If necessary, your dentist can also polish and adjust the color of your restoration to match that of your other teeth before you leave the office.

How should I care for a new crown?

E4D CAD/CAM 1-day crowns are not temporaries, so you can return to normal eating habits nearly immediately. However, as with any tooth-colored restoration, you will need to avoid chewing on ice or hard objects that could chip your restoration. Continue to brush and floss daily, and talk with your dentist about getting a night guard if you tend to clench or grind your teeth at night.

Root canals are dental procedures used to treat severely decayed teeth. They are necessary once tooth decay has eroded past the enamel and dentin layers to infect the dental pulp. Pulp infections cause the inside of the tooth to die and can spread to the jawbone or surrounding teeth if not treated. By removing decayed and infected tissue, root canals preserve the outer structure of the tooth and prevent the entire tooth from being lost. 

Root Canal Therapy steps

Did You Know?

Approximately 15 million root canals are performed every year, as stated by the American Endodontists Association. This means that an average of 41,000 root canals are performed across America every day!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Discolored tooth surrounded by healthy teeth

Do I need a root canal?

You will need a root canal if you have a pulp infection, also known as pulpitis. Symptoms such as a discolored tooth, sudden and progressive pain, and gum swelling or irritation around the affected tooth can indicate a pulp infection is present. However, some pulp infections may not show any symptoms and can only be diagnosed with dental x-rays. Ultimately, a thorough examination by your Long Beach dentist is required to determine if you need a root canal. 

How is a root canal performed at my Long Beach dental office?

To perform a root canal, the first step is to access the inside of the tooth. To accomplish this, your dentist will make a tiny hole in the top of your tooth with a dental drill. Then, they will use a series of specialized root canal files to remove the infected tissue from the pulp chamber and root canals. This process also removes the nerve and blood vessels that make up the pulp tissue. After the pulp chamber and root canals have been cleaned out, they will be flushed out with an antimicrobial solution to prevent future infection. two posts in crown

The next step is to restore the remaining tooth structure. To provide stability and prevent future infection, a rubber-like material called gutta percha is used to fill the inside of the tooth. A small, metal post may also be placed to provide additional support. Once the inside of the tooth has been filled, the access hole will be closed with dental cement. Finally, a dental crown will be placed over the entire tooth in order to protect the tooth from damage and decay. 

Do root canals hurt?

During your root canal procedure, you will be completely anesthetized, meaning that your mouth will be numb. You can also request dental sedation to keep you relaxed as well. With that being said, root canals themselves rarely cause discomfort. Rather, the pain associated with root canals is actually a result of the inflammation from the pulp infection. 

Do I need to follow any special instructions after my root canal?

After your root canal, your dentist will recommend not to eat until your mouth regains feeling. Additionally, you may want to start out with soft foods and you should chew on the opposite side until your permanent restoration is placed. 

In the days following your root canal, you may experience some residual soreness. Again, this is caused by inflammation from the infection. Even though the infection has been removed, the inflammation takes a few days to dissipate. During this period, over the counter pain medications are usually sufficient. 

Meet our Endodontist, Dr. Darren Smolkin DDS

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