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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.

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.

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.

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.

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
22195 El Paseo, Suite 220
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