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131921402-xsPorcelain veneers have become a popular treatment for correcting a range of dental flaws including chipped, broken, crooked, discolored, and awkwardly sized teeth. At SoCal Smiles Dental in Rancho Santa Margarita, Drs. Scott Karafin and Mi Jung Jin treat porcelain veneer candidates every day. But how do you know if porcelain veneers are right for you?

There are several markers that a cosmetic dentist can look for to determine whether a potential patient is a good candidate for porcelain veneers. Some of these include:

  • Strong and Healthy Teeth: Porcelain veneers are bonded directly to the patient’s natural teeth. Because of this, teeth must be strong and free of cavities and plaque build-up. If decay is left untreated, it could progress beneath the veneer and ultimately lead to veneer failure.
  • Healthy Gums: Just as a prospective patient should have healthy teeth, a dentist will also look for healthy gums free of periodontitis to determine if a patient practices good dental habits and ensure that porcelain veneers will have the best lifespan possible.

Ask Dr. Karafin

No one know the kinds of questions patients may have about their teeth better than patients! I wanted to answer a few of them here.

wornDr. Karafin,

My top front teeth are uneven–I think because I am grinding my teeth at night. It seems like I’ve literally ground some of my front teeth down. Is there anything I can do to restore them and prevent future problems?Thanks!
Jim – Lake Forest, CA

Thanks for the question Jim. The answer, simply, is yes you have several options for restoring your teeth and keeping them looking their best.


Dentures have come a long way

false-teeth__1_Chances are you have a shocking childhood memory of seeing a relative’s dentures sitting in a cup of water on the counter for the first time. Or maybe you saw them fall out during Thanksgiving dinner, or worse, maybe that relative took them out on purpose to scare the little kids running around!

Whatever the case is, I’m sure you have encountered someone with dentures in your lifetime. Over the years maybe you or a loved one has even become the person wearing dentures. Well just because you are missing a number of teeth it doesn’t mean you are stuck with old floppy teeth that won’t stay in or don’t look very good even when they do. You have a number of options. Dentures don’t have to carry the social stigma they once did. Modern denture wearers should be able to eat and smile without worry.

April 7, 2022 karafinTooth Decay


It’s Not Just Sweets

Well it’s not just sweets that can cause cavities. Cavities are caused by tiny little bacteria called Streptococcus mutans.
These bacteria live in our mouth all the time. There is essentially no way to get rid of them. They like to eat any fermentable carbohydrate. That is, any sugar from candy, sweets or soda, as well as crusty bread, crackers or chips; Even raisins or bananas.

Long After You Finish That Snack

Now, this isn’t happening just when we are in the act of eating. It’s all about oral clearance. (How long food sticks around in your mouth). Depending on how sticky a food is, the sugars from these foods can be feeding this bacteria for anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes after we’ve finished it. That soda may be completely out of your oral cavity 20 minutes after you drink it, but those gummy bears can stick in your teeth for 90 minutes or more. And as far as those crackers you keep going back to every 10 minutes? Your oral cavity is never completely clearing those as long as you keep snacking. This is why kids who sleep with a bottle of milk get tooth decay. Their teeth are constantly bathed in the sugar from the milk. Their mouth never gets a break to recover.

Why does this matter? While bacteria are feeding, they give off waste products. These are very acidic and lower the pH levels in your mouth. This is what eats away at your enamel and causes cavities. Our best defense against tooth decay is to minimize the length of time for this pH drop.

92983651-xsSoCal Smiles proudly serves patients in the Rancho Santa Margarita area, providing them with diverse dental treatments to meet their needs. This includes general dental care services and advanced restorative treatments, such as using dental implants to support restorations in tooth gaps, which restores the appearance and functionality of smiles.

We’d like to go over dental implants briefly and consider the different kinds of restorations that they can be used to support.

For people who are missing one or more of their natural teeth, dental implants represent the strongest, sturdiest, most reliable method of tooth replacementavailable today. They also represent the most versatile method, as they can be used to replace a single missing tooth, multiple teeth, or even every tooth in the mouth. Once in place, dental implant restorations allow patients to bite, chew, speak, and smile with absolute assurance once again.

66389269-xsAt SoCal Smiles Dentistry in Rancho Santa Margarita, dental implant restorations of the most surpassing standard are available to our valued patients. Whether you are missing a single tooth or all of your teeth, we can give you the complete, healthy smile you deserve. We invite you to find out whether dental implant restorations are the best option for you by meeting with esteemed family dentist Scott Karafin for a confidential consultation at his office today.

84979129Most adults will have at least one cavity in their lives, so it’s no surprise that dealing with tooth decay is one of the most common problems addressed by dentists. When teeth have been damaged by decay, dental fillings are generally used to fill in the lost tooth structure. In the past, a mixture, or amalgam, of metals was used to fill the tooth. Now, we have other restorative dentistry options that we can use to restore teeth, including composite, tooth-colored fillings. To learn more about tooth-colored fillings benefits, contact our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA practice.

December 7, 2016 karafinCosmetic Dentistry

210137485Just about everyone wants to have an attractive smile, but years of surface stains can leave teeth darkened or yellowed. If you already have a healthy smile, why not show it off with bright and clean looking teeth? At our Rancho Santa Margarita dental center, we offer professional whitening treatment through Venus® products, allowing patients to effectively brighten their smiles by multiple shades.

Teeth whitening offers visible and immediate benefits with little risk, making it the most popular cosmetic treatment in dentistry. Still, as with any procedure, we want our patients to know what they can expect after treatment. Before heading into your whitening appointment, be prepared for the few side effects that may be experienced in the following hours or days. 

177515780At SoCal Smiles Dentistry, we take great care when treating patients in and around the greater Rancho Santa Margarita area. While advanced restorative dentistry means reduced pain and great results, many patients still suffer from serious dental anxiety. That’s why we’re pleased to offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation. Let’s look into these matters in a bit more detail right now.

Why is anything bad in life always compared to a root canal?

Root canals get a bad rap. It could be because by the time someone needs one, they are usually already in pain. But whether you need one to ease your pain or prevent it, you are going to be very glad you had one.
At the center of every tooth is a nerve. This nerve is very important during the development and growth of the tooth. Once the tooth is fully grown and erupted, however, it doesn’t really do anything. People never really think about having nerves inside their teeth. That is, unless one of them starts to cause you pain. In that case you become very aware of them.


Family dentist Scott Karafin in Rancho Santa Margarita can help you and your entire family to enjoy outstanding oral health. He offers comprehensive general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services in a relaxing, friendly environment.

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SoCal Smiles Dentistry
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Rancho Santa Margarita Office
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