The 3Shape Trios Scanner is the most up-to-date, accurate digital scanner on the market. Using the latest in technology, we are able to provide high-quality porcelain restorations that look and function like your natural teeth and will last for many years. The 3Shape Trios Scanner allows us to custom-make a porcelain crown or restoration for you in-office, giving us total control over the final restoration appearance and fit for your comfort and satisfaction.
What are composite fillings?
Fillings are the most popular method of restoring teeth. There are many types of materials that can be used for fillings such as composite and amalgam. Composites fillings are a popular choice because they match the color of teeth and look natural. Composites are not only used to restore decayed teeth, but they may also be used for broken teeth, discolored teeth, and teeth that have been worn down.
How are fillings placed?
Fillings are very common and can be done in one visit to the dentist. Once anesthesia is given, the dentist will begin removing decay from the tooth using a dental drill and clean out the decayed area. When all the decay is removed, the dentist will place the filling material. Once the filling has been placed, the bite will be adjusted and the tooth will be polished so it can look as natural as possible.
After first receiving a filling, many patients become temporarily sensitive to hot and cold foods. When the tooth adjusts to having the filling, the sensitivity will subside.
We strive to take care of all dental emergencies as quickly as possible. If you are experiencing a dental emergency, please call us at (805) 770-8280.
Types of Dental Emergencies and How to Deal with Them
Avulsed (knocked out) tooth
If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the mouth, it is essential to see a dentist immediately. When a tooth exits the mouth, tissues, nerves and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.
Here are some steps to take:
- Call the dentist.
- Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
- If possible, place it back into its socket – if not tuck it into the cheek pouch.
- If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
- Get to the dentist, quickly and safely.
The dentist will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, but if the inner mechanisms of the teeth are seriously damaged, root canal therapy may be necessary.
Lost filling or crown
Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. Once it is out of the mouth, the affected tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure. Crowns generally become loose because the tooth beneath is decaying. The decay causes shape changes in the teeth – meaning that the crown no longer fits.
If a crown has dropped out of the mouth, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that the dentist can reinsert it. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, the teeth may shift or sustain further damage.
When the dentist is not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:
- Apply clove oil to the tooth to alleviate pain.
- Clean the crown and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement. This can be purchased at the local pharmacy.
- If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
- DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.
The dentist will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be reattached to the tooth. Where decay is noted, this will be treated and a new crown will be made.
Cracked or broken teeth
The teeth are strong, but they are still prone to fractures, cracks and breaks. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding and biting. If a tooth has been fractured or cracked, there is no alternative but to see the dentist as quickly as possible.
Where a segment of tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:
- Call the dentist.
- Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
- Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
- Place a cold, damp dishtowel on the cheek to minimize swelling and pain.
- Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if there is no way to see the dentist immediately.
- Take a topical pain reliever.
The nature of the break or fracture will limit what the dentist is able to do. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy may be the only effective way to retain the tooth. In the case of a complete break, the dentist will usually affix the fragment back onto the tooth as a temporary measure.
When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in the mouth and attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.
It is important to call the dentist immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. The dentist will reposition the tooth and add splints to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy may be required.
If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact the office.
On your first visit, the dentist will perform a comprehensive dental exam to assess the current condition of your teeth and their supporting dental structures. You will then be asked to return for regular check-up exams to help implement and maintain your individualized dental health plan. Regular check-up exams cover three primary areas:
- Professional Dental Cleanings
- Screenings for General Dental Health
- Periodic X-Rays & Regular Diagnostic Evaluations of X-Rays
What are dental implants?
Dental implants and implant crowns are recommended for those seeking a permanent solution to missing teeth. They are designed to look natural while also giving you the ability to have the stable function of natural teeth. Dental implants are essentially titanium screws placed into the jaw in a small, surgical procedure. After the implant screw is placed, the bone will heal around the titanium and hold it into place. This process, called “integration”, typically takes between 3-6 months. Once the bone has healed, your dentist will place your custom made crown onto the implant.
Dental implants are not recommended for everyone. In order to be eligible to receive implants, you must have enough bone structure to support the implant, be free of chronic illnesses that may affect your bone healing, and must ensure that you will maintain proper oral hygiene to care for a new implant.
What are sealants?
Dental sealants are a form of preventive treatment used to help prevent the development of cavities that form in the grooves of teeth. The resin sealants are placed on the chewing surface of the teeth, generally the molars or premolars. These teeth are the most susceptible to cavities–due to the anatomy of the tooth, food particles get stuck in the grooves of the tooth. Bacteria accumulates in these areas, attacking the enamel and causing a cavity to form. The resin coating of the dental sealant helps prevent food and bacteria from sticking in the grooves of the tooth.
When are sealants placed?
Dental sealants are typically placed when the first permanent molars have fully erupted, around 7 years old. The dental sealant will help protect the permanent teeth of children to help prevent the formation of cavities. These sealants can also be placed on adults that are at high risk for dental cavities. Sealants last for many years, but new ones can be placed if the old sealants have worn down.
Taking dental x-rays or radiographs is essential for diagnosing dental disease and concerns. These radiographs show teeth, bones and soft tissue to help dentists determine if there are cavities or hidden dental problems such as bone loss that cannot be seen when looking into a mouth. Taking dental x-rays can also help catch dental disease early to prevent pain and expensive dental treatment.
Dental x-rays use very small amounts of radiation and exposure to this small amount of radiation is safe. When a patient receives a full mouth series of x-rays, this is equivalent to radiation exposure in one day of everyday life.
E4D Dentist Benefits:
- Same-day dentistry for patient’s convenience.
- Advanced technology to provide extremely accurate results and better dental care.
- Perfect for crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays.
The E4D System provides us with the capability of delivering same day dentistry under optimal conditions using the latest in dental technology and clinically proven materials to mill a crown for you in-office, eliminating laboratory waiting time. These technologies are allowing today’s dentistry to be more convenient, less time consuming, and more patient-friendly. E4D Dentistry allows you to be in and out of our dental office with your permanent, natural-looking and metal-free restorations in one day. Ask your dentist if E4D technology is right for you.
Fluoride is a mineral used to help harden enamel and prevent cavities. Fluoride is found naturally in water and in many foods, and it is also used to help with the remineralization process to prevent breakdown of the tooth and tooth decay. Today, studies have shown that drinking fluoridated water has decreased the incidence of dental cavities by two-thirds. Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste and using community fluoridated water is considered to be helpful is decreasing decay. In areas where the water supply is not fluoridated, fluoride tablets may be prescribed to children.
There are many things that you can do away from the dental office to help control bacteria and plaque to keep your mouth healthy. Brushing, flossing, mouth rinses and maintaining good nutrition can help keep your mouth healthy in between dental visits.
Brushing your teeth is something that you should do twice everyday! Using a soft-bristled brush can help remove food particles, plaque and other debris from your teeth. If you choose not to use a manual brush, electric toothbrushes have become an option for many. Choosing a proper toothbrush will help you brush those hard to reach places. It is important to brush twice a day, once in the morning and once before you go to bed for 2-3 minutes each time.
To properly brush, use about a pea size about of toothpaste. There are many types of toothpaste and choosing the right one for you is important. Toothpaste varieties range from those designed for sensitivity to those used for tartar protection. Begin by placing the toothbrush at a 45 degree angles to the gums. Use small and gentle circular motions so you are cleaning the surface of the teeth and gently massaging your gums. Proper brushing takes at least two minutes, so set a timer, stopwatch or even sing a song to ensure that you are brushing for a long enough time. For hard to reach areas in the back and inside surfaces of the teeth, use the tip of the toothbrush. Brushing your tongue can also help remove bacteria and leave your breath smelling fresher. Specialized tongue brushes are excellent for preventing bad breath!
Replacement of your toothbrush should occur every 2-3 months or when your toothbrush bristles start showing signs of wear. Toothbrushes should also be replaced after illness to prevent from reinfecting yourself.
Brushing alone does not reach all areas of the mouth. The areas in between teeth cannot be accessed with a toothbrush and therefore flossing is needed. Flossing helps clean and prevent the formation of plaque in between teeth and underneath the gum line.
To properly floss, use about 15 inches of floss and wrap it around your middle finger, leaving about 2 inches of floss to work with. Use your thumbs and index fingers to help guide the floss in between the teeth, wrapping the floss around the tooth to form a C shape. The floss should clean underneath the gum line, but avoid forcing it down further, which causes damage to the gum tissue.
Mouthrinses are another way to keep your teeth healthy and your breath fresh. Though it does not replace brushing and flossing, rinsing can help after meals when a toothbrush is not readily available.
Oral cancer begins with an asymptomatic, painless phase during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. The good news is that oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual oral cancer exam, part of your routine dental examination, and effectively treated when caught in its earliest stages. Most commonly, oral cancer originates in lip and mouth tissues, making the oral cancer exam performed by your dentist critically important.
There are many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers commonly occur, including:
- Salivary Glands
- Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
Reasons for oral cancer examinations
It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Your dentist can provide guidance with making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking.
Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible.
The oral cancer examination is a completely painless process. During the visual part of the examination, the dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps.
You may need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease and bone loss, or are broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment. Teeth can be removed with local anesthetic, or you may choose to be sedated for the procedure. In either case, tooth removal should not be a traumatic experience, and we will do our best to ensure that you are comfortable during the entire procedure.
During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure. This is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal. The anesthetic effectively numbs the nerves that transfer pain, but the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected. If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction please let us know right away.
Many teeth are removed with simple extractions. Some teeth, however, may be broken off below the gumline or too large or decayed to remove in one piece. When this occurs, a surgical extraction may be necessary, which may include a soft tissue flap, bone removal, and sutures.
The removal of a single tooth that is not replaced can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health. To avoid these complications, our doctors will discuss alternatives to extractions where possible as well replacement options for the extracted tooth.
Dr. Clara Mora works hand-in-hand with CareCredit Patient Payment Plans. CareCredit offers special financing options to patients at a reasonable rate through use of a CareCredit credit card. This credit card allows you to make easy monthly payments for dental treatments, rather than delaying treatment for financial reasons. Please contact our office for more details. You can also learn more about CareCredit at www.CareCredit.com.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a very serious dental disease that affects many people. It is caused by bacteria that live in plaque buildup on the teeth. In the mouth, plaque is constantly accumulating on the teeth, but when the plaque buildup becomes severe, the body’s immune system tries to fight the bacteria in plaque. This causes inflammation in the gums that results in swelling and bleeding, which are early signs of periodontal disease, called gingivitis. In severe forms of periodontal disease, the bacteria that live under the gums begin to damage the bone that supports the teeth, causing bone loss and loose teeth.
Other health risks of periodontal disease
There are studies that show a connection between periodontal disease and other health concerns, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory problems
- Increase risk of stroke
- Premature births in pregnant women
What can you do?
If you suspect that you may have signs of periodontal disease, such as inflammation and bleeding gums, make an appointment to consult with your dentist. At early stages, the process of the disease can be reversed through a cleaning or deep cleaning and proper oral hygiene maintenance. Maintaining good oral hygiene through brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist can help prevent periodontal disease.
What is a porcelain dental crown?
A porcelain dental crown is a tooth shaped cap that is used to help repair and protect teeth with extensive damage that cannot be restored using a simple filling. They are generally suggested for patients who have had severely decayed or damaged teeth. Porcelain dental crowns match the color of teeth to give a natural appearance. There are many other types of crowns such as gold or silver-colored metal, but porcelain crowns are most popular because they give the most natural look.
How are porcelain crowns placed?
When you and your dentist decide that getting a crown is the right option for you, the dentist will prepare the tooth in a shape that enables her to place a crown. Depending on the damage of the tooth and how much tooth structure is present, the dentist may need to build up the tooth with a strong core filling in order to support the crown. Several impressions will be taken so that our dental laboratory can custom make a crown for your tooth. While you wait for the dental laboratory to create your crown, your dentist will create a temporary crown for you that will be replaced when your final crown is finished. When the crown is finished by the dental laboratory, the dentist will try on the crown to ensure that the fit and bite are correct. The porcelain crown is then cemented to your tooth to give you a beautiful and natural appearance.
With care, porcelain dental crowns can be very durable and have the ability to last a long time. Your dentist will give you special instructions on how you can keep your crown clean with brushing and flossing so that you can help your crown last for years.
Although receiving a crown can take two visits to complete, if your dentist uses CAD-CAM technology such as CEREC®or Trios they may be able to offer you a crown in one visit. Consult with your dentist to see if this is an option for you.
What are Porcelain Inlays and Onlays?
Porcelain Inlays and Onlays are restorative fillings that are made using different materials such as porcelain, gold or composite. Porcelain is often the most popular because it mimics natural tooth color. The porcelain is custom created to fit into the prepared tooth cavity and cemented in. Porcelain on its own can be very brittle, but when porcelain is bonded to tooth structure, it becomes very strong and durable.
Due to the durability of porcelain inlays and onlays, they may be recommended for patients who have more severe decay that cannot be repaired by a traditional filling. Generally, teeth that are broken, have severe decay or have fractured fillings are recommended to receive a porcelain inlay or onlay.
What is the difference between inlays and onlays?
Inlays and onlays are both made at dental laboratories. Therefore, the process generally takes two visits to complete. Porcelain inlays are used in place on traditional silver or composite fillings. They are placed into the prepared tooth where a filling would be placed. Onlays are also known as “partial crowns” and they are caps that help protect the chewing surface of the tooth that has been damaged. Both inlays and onlays last for a very long time and provide patients with beautiful results, but they may eventually need to be replaced.
What is a root canal?
Root canal therapy is a treatment used to save a tooth when the tissue–blood vessels and nerves–inside of a tooth have become infected or inflamed. In order to save the tooth and remove the pain, the dentist will need to remove infected and diseased tissue inside the root “canal” to clean out the infected area. The canal inside is then medicated and filled to allow the surrounding area to heal and prevent re-infection.
Reasons a root canal may be performed
- Deep decay
- Infections at the tip of the root or inside the canal
- Cracked, broken or injured teeth
Generally, but not always, a crown will need to be placed after the root canal treatment is complete in order to protect the tooth from any further damage. Sensitivity after the procedure is generally experienced by many patients and subsides within a week when the tooth has healed. When your treatment has been completed, your dentist will provide you with special instructions on how to care for your newly treated tooth.
What are porcelain fixed bridges?
Porcelain fixed bridges are non-removable appliances that are placed on teeth to replace a tooth that is missing. Porcelain bridges are made to match the natural color of your teeth and help fill in the gap where a tooth is missing. Bridges are essentially two crowns that that anchor an artificial tooth in between. The two crowns are cemented onto the teeth surrounding the missing tooth to help anchor the artificial tooth into place. These two anchoring teeth are referred to as abutments. The artificial tooth, or pontic, replaces the missing tooth to fill in the gap and allow your teeth to look natural.
The process of getting a porcelain fixed bridge
When you and your dentist decide that a porcelain fixed bridge is the right option for you, the dentist will begin preparing the two teeth that surround the missing tooth. The teeth are prepared so that two crowns can be placed in order to support the artificial tooth. Several impressions will be taken in order for the laboratory to custom make a bridge for your teeth. Once the impressions are taken, they are sent to a dental laboratory where your bridge will be made. A bridge generally takes two dental visits to complete. Once the dental laboratory has made your bridge, the dentist will cement the bridge into place.
Porcelain fixed bridges are very durable and can last a very long time when they are well taken care of. Your dentist will give you special instructions on how you can keep your bridge clean through brushing and flossing.
At the office of Clara Mora, we are dedicated to helping our patients build and maintain a solid foundation for lasting dental health and aesthetics.
While our focus is on the health of your smile, we also want to ensure that you’re happy with what you see when you look in the mirror. Dr. Clara Mora offers teeth whitening solutions designed to brighten your smile and boost your confidence.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Dr. Clara Mora performs an examination of your teeth before helping you decide what method would work best for you. This dental examination also helps to determine the cause of tooth discoloration, and evaluate how bleaching procedures may affect previous dental work. At our Santa Barbara dental office, Dr. Mora can provide patients with custom trays and Nu Radiance whitening gel for convenient professional teeth whitening at home.
How Will My Teeth React?
It’s important to know that all smiles are different and not all teeth will achieve the same bright shade of whiteness. A patient may see results at different times, with some seeing a brighter smile earlier on than others. It’s also important to understand what shape your teeth are in before going through a whitening procedure. The health of your dentition will play an important role in the final results.
What Materials Are Used?
Bleaching typically uses carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide is more gentle than hydrogen peroxide, and generally causes less post-whitening sensitivity. Dr. Mora will work with you to determine which method is best. All whitening procedures have the potential to produce mild gum and tooth sensitivity.
What Are the Safety Concerns?
When it comes to over-the-counter teeth whitening, the biggest drawback is using these products without first getting a dental exam and professional advice. Without an examination before treatment, there is no way of measuring risk or determining which bleaching method will work best.
Tray bleaching has an established safety record. Dental enamel has been found not to be significantly impacted through this method of teeth whitening. Custom trays from your dentist offer a more uniform bleaching effect because the trays are made to fit your smile. Store bought trays and strips are made as one-size-fits-all and the bleaching material may not be applied uniformly, rendering uneven results. Overall, teeth bleaching is considered low risk.
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often they are misaligned and require removal.
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they may position themselves horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves.
Anatomy of the Teeth
The teeth are the hardest substances in the human body. Besides being essential for chewing, the teeth play an important role in speech. Parts of the teeth include:
- Enamel: The hardest, white outer part of the tooth. Enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate, a rock-hard mineral.
- Dentin: A layer underlying the enamel. Dentin is made of living cells, which secrete a hard mineral substance.
- Pulp: The softer, living inner structure of teeth. Blood vessels and nerves run through the pulp of the teeth.
Wisdom teeth also can be impacted — they are enclosed within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone, or only partially break through or “erupt” through the gum. Partial eruption of the wisdom teeth allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and can cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.
How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?
Ask your dentist about your wisdom teeth. Your dentist will take an X-ray to evaluate for the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also decide to send you to an oral surgeon for further evaluation.
Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The relative ease at which your dentist or oral surgeon can extract your wisdom teeth depends on their position and stage of development. Your oral health care provider will be able to give you an idea of what to expect during your pre-extraction exam. A wisdom tooth that is fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as easily as any other tooth. However, a wisdom tooth that is underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone will require an incision into the gums and then removal of the portion of bone that lies over the tooth. Often, for a tooth in this situation, the tooth will be extracted in small sections rather than removed in one piece to minimize the amount of bone that needs to be removed to get the tooth out.
What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Before your wisdom teeth are removed, the teeth and the surrounding tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic — the same type used to numb a tooth prior to having a cavity filled. In addition to the local anesthetic to numb the pain, you and your dentist or oral surgeon may decide tp administer a sedative to manage any anxiety. Sedating medications that could be selected include: nitrous oxide (otherwise known as “laughing gas”), an oral sedative (for example, Valium), or an intravenous sedative (administered via an injection into your veins). If nitrous oxide is given, you will be able to drive yourself home. If any of the other medications is selected, you will need someone to drive you both to and from the appointment.