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134642702The smile is one of a person’s most prominent facial features. Unfortunately, many patients aren’t completely satisfied with the state of their smile. While cosmetic blemishes are a common complaint when it comes to the smile, this is not the only problem that patients face. Persistent cases of bad breath leave many afraid to laugh, talk, or share an intimate moment with others. To help patients eliminate this fear and restore fresh breath, Dr. Scott Karafin offers bad breath treatment to his Rancho Santa Margarita patients. Restorative dentistry treatments that address oral health problems are often successful in the treatment of halitosis, but this is just one option that can be explored. Here we discuss the dental treatments that may help our patients get back a fresh, healthy smile.

157789928Our teeth are at constant risk of tooth erosion. Caused by factors such as foods, poor oral hygiene, and the simple act of chewing, tooth erosion can lead to major dental health problems. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can be performed to repair the damage caused by tooth erosion. While there are options to repair the damage caused by tooth erosion, preventing tooth erosion and its associated oral health problems to begin with is ideal. Learn more about the causes of tooth erosion and available treatments in this overview from Rancho Santa Margarita dentist Scott Karafin.

131593916When it comes to preventive dental care, most people know that they should brush their teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist every six months. But did you know that a custom mouth guard could also preserve the health of your smile? Custom mouth guards protect the teeth and gums from the damage caused by chronic teeth grinding and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, prevent dental injuries in athletes, and treat certain cases of sleep apnea. At SoCal Smiles Dentistry, Dr. Scott Karafin offers various family dentistry services, including custom mouth guards. Contact our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA practice today to find out if a custom mouth guard is right for you.

230590237At SoCal Smiles Dentistry, Dr. Karafin and his team are committed to your family’s long-term oral health. Therefore, we believe that preventive exams and cleanings are two of the most important services that we offer. Even if you and your children practice great oral habits at home, professional care is essential if you want your beautiful smile to last for life. With cleanings, we can eliminate the bacteria and other substances that cause cavities. We can also check for the early symptoms of decay and gum disease, providing prompt care before these conditions cause extensive damage. Take advantage of this important aspect of family dentistry and ensure lasting dental wellness for you and your kids. To undergo a dental exam and cleaning, contact our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA practice today.

As children, when we were introduced to the basic concepts of good oral health, we were taught that the purpose behind brushing and flossing was to ward off cavities. As we grew, we became aware of other threats to our teeth and gums, including periodontal disease and root canal infections, but for many of us, cavities retained their grip on our consciousness. We brushed and flossed and visited our local restorative dentistry practice regularly because we wanted no part of those dreaded cavities.

Yet, most people, including many who brush, floss, and visit the dentist at least somewhat regularly, have experienced at least one cavity in their lives. Unfortunately, when the enamel that protects our teeth is eroded or otherwise damaged, the underlying layer of the teeth becomes highly vulnerable to decay. Dental caries – the holes and crevices that we refer to colloquially as cavities – can easily form in the teeth at this point.

Fortunately, we offer a variety of outstanding treatment options for cavities at our Rancho Santa Margarita, CA restorative dentistry practice, SoCal Smiles Dentistry. These options not only restore structural integrity to teeth damaged by cavities, but also a stunningly natural and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

The Most Common Treatments for Cavities

All treatments for cavities begin with the removal of any damaged material from the affected tooth. This is necessary to contain the spread of decay. Once this has been accomplished, one of our dentists will then reconstruct the tooth, restoring its full form and function. This is done using one of three possible methods, depending on the amount of structure missing from the tooth:

  • Tooth-colored filling: For many decades, dentists used metal materials such as silver amalgam to fill small cavities. While these fillings were durable and functional, they were also conspicuous and cosmetically unappealing. Modern fillings, however, are made of a composite resin that blends seamlessly into the smile while withstanding the pressures of daily use. While there is no definitive evidence that metal fillings pose a health hazard, it is worth noting that tooth-colored fillings are also free from mercury.
  • Inlays and onlays: Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are ceramic restorations that are used to fill cavities that are too large to support composite resin fillings. Inlays and onlays are bonded directly to teeth. Inlays fill cavities that occur within the protruding cusps of a tooth, while onlays fill cavities that have spread to one or more of the cusps.
  • Dental crowns: If a cavity is particularly large, it may not be possible for the tooth to support a filling, an inlay, or an onlay. In such cases, it may be advisable to cover the entire visible surface area of the tooth with a dental crown. A dental crown is custom-crafted to mimic a tooth in its appearance and function while protecting the natural tooth from further harm from bacteria and other elements.

Learn More about Treatment Options for Cavities

If you would like to learn more about the treatment options we offer for cavities, please contact SoCal Smiles Dentistry today.

“No, I don’t floss, but I’m really good about brushing”

gum-diseaseThis is a troubling statement I hear on a daily basis from many of my Rancho Santa Margarita patients. And if the patient happens to not have any new cavities, I can see their confidence growing, perhaps thinking, “My brushing must be so good I don’t even need to floss.”

While, flossing will certainly reduce a person’s risk for cavities, that’s not the only reason your dentist wants you to be diligent with your oral hygiene practices.

As we chew our food our teeth are designed to lean against each other, keeping the majority of food from getting stuck in-between. This by no means keeps everything from getting in between. Some people have bigger spaces than others, and some foods just stick a little more than others.

So there you are, you’ve just eaten and you have a little food in the space in between your teeth. Not even thinking about the obvious particles you can see, there are tiny particles that sit just below the gum level that you might not even know are there, and that brushing alone will not remove.

“Well, I don’t have any cavities,” you may be thinking. That’s good, but that’s not the only issue. The spaces in between those teeth that catch food down in the gums are called gingival pockets. These pockets, when healthy, are between 1-3 mm deep. That’s not very deep, and it’s easy to clean them with daily flossing. When you don’t floss, however, the particles left there are called plaque. Left to build up the plaque hardens and becomes calculus. Not only is calculus too hard to remove with just normal flossing, it is also very irritating to the gums. It can cause gums to become red and puffy, and occasionally bleed when flossing or brushing. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis can be annoying but it is completely reversible with a good professional dental cleaning and improved home care.

141447985-xsThere are many reasons why a tooth may be weakened or reduced in size. Physical damage, bacterial decay, and necessary dental work can all leave a tooth in a more vulnerable condition, threatening its health. Fortunately, you can protect your teeth with dental crowns, restoring their functionality and preventing further harm.

In addition to the restorative capabilities of dental crowns, the cosmetic quality of porcelain allows patients to maintain or even improve a smile. If porcelain crowns are recommended to you by our Rancho Santa Margarita dentist, you can expect to gain numerous benefits.

Uses for Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns can be used to preserve a tooth that may be otherwise damaged or lost completely due to a number of factors. Common reasons for crowns include:

  • Physical damage: Large chips or cracks can threaten the integrity and health of teeth, and may not be reliably fixed through smaller restorations.
  • Tooth decay: Dental fillings may not be an adequate solution for all cavities. When a significant portion of tooth tissue has been lost to decay, a crown may be necessary for full restoration.
  • Worn or eroded teeth: When enamel has been eroded around a tooth, a crown can replace the outer layer and protect the sensitive, softer dentin tissue.
  • Undersized or misshapen teeth: A tooth may be too small or oddly shaped due to genetic or environmental factors. By covering it with a crown, the tooth can be resized and shaped.
  • Root canal therapy: When a tooth requires root canal treatment, it is left vulnerable due to the amount and type of tissue removed. A crown is often necessary following treatment.
  • Dental implants or bridges: Crowns are used to cap dental implants and as a means of support for dental bridges, making them a vital part of the tooth replacement process.

Porcelain crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes, as they cover the entirety of a tooth’s surface. For instance, if a tooth has severe discoloration that cannot be fully concealed by dental bonding or veneers, a cosmetic dentist can more adequately mask the imperfection with a crown.

40643956-xsLife can be hard on teeth. If you have multiple broken, decayed, or missing teeth, you may be a good candidate for what is known as “full mouth reconstruction.” The cosmetic dentistry office of SoCal Smiles, led by Dr. Scott Karafin and Dr. Mi Jung Jin, offers full mouth reconstruction to its Rancho Santa Margerita patients as a way to restore the beautiful healthy smile of their youth. But in order to know if full mouth reconstruction is right for you, first you must understand what the procedure involves.

What Is Full Mouth Reconstruction?

The term “full mouth reconstruction” does not refer to any one specific dental procedure. Instead, it references a number of different procedures that can be used alone or in tandem to correct complex or severe dental conditions. These procedures include, but are not limited to:

  • Metal alloy or composite tooth-colored fillings
  • Individual porcelain dental crowns or dental bridges
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Removable or permanent full dentures
  • Dental implants
  • Traditional or Invisalign® orthodontic treatments
  • Tooth whitening
  • Root planing and scaling

Treatment plans for full mouth reconstruction depend entirely on the condition of each individual patient’s oral structure. Some patients may need only a partial mouth reconstruction with cosmetic treatments like porcelain veneers or tooth whitening and orthodontics with fillings and sealants to correct and protect against first signs of decay. Those that suffer from more serious issues like multiple missing or broken teeth, on the other hand, will benefit from more intense treatment strategies including dental crowns and bridges with the option of dental implants for added strength and permanence.


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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