GENERAL DENTISTRY FOR ALL AGES

Ordinary Dentistry Made Extraordinary

First! What is general dentistry?

Let's cover the basics

General dentistry is the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of dental diseases, disorders and/or dental conditions.

Our objective is to help you manage your overall oral health care needs through a wide range of dental treatments treatments.

So, this is how we can help you!

Expand each service to learn more

Bonding


Bonding is the application of natural tooth-colored composite (resin) to repair a tooth. It is sometimes used to fill spaces between your teeth, make your teeth look longer or to change the shape or color of your teeth. Sometimes bonding is also used as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings, or to protect your tooth's root due to gum recession.

The procedure is easy. We prepare the surface of your tooth and apply the bonding material. Once the material sets, we sculpt it into the desired shape. Then we trim, smooth, and polish the material to ensure it looks just like your natural teeth.

Something to keep in mind is that composite resin isn't as strong as a natural tooth. Habits such as chewing on hard things can cause the composite to chip! At the same time, it can stain from coffee and wine. You can avoid staining by brushing your teeth twice a day and having your teeth cleaned by our hygienists.

There are two types of bonding:

1) Adhesive bonding: The process of attaching a restoration to a tooth, commonly used for crowns, veneers, bridges and inlays or onlays.

2) Direct composite bonding: The process where we use tooth-colored composites to fill cavities, repair chips or cracks, close gaps between your teeth and smooth the worn-down edges of teeth.




Bridges


A missing tooth can cause pain, shifting of teeth, jaw pain, and even gum disease. How do you prevent this? Say hello to bridges! Bridges are commonly used to cover a space between teeth. A bridge is commonly cemented onto existing teeth or implants which can help strengthen a damaged tooth, improve your tooth’s appearance, shape, alignment and occlusion (your bite).

Placing a bridge usually takes more than one dental visit. On the first visit, your dentist prepares the teeth on both sides of the gap and in a second visit the bridge is placed.

Caring for your bridge is important. Brushing and cleaning between the teeth and under your bridge helps remove plaque (bacteria). In addition, make sure to see us regularly for professional dental cleanings.

Your overall dental health such as teeth, gums, and jaw will determine how well a bridge will work for you and the type of bridge we may recommend for your treatment.




Crowns


We may recommend a dental crown for one of these common reasons: You have a weak tooth that needs to be held together, you require a dental bridge, or you have a tooth that is discolored. There could be more reasons that you and your dentists will explore.

There are many types of dental crowns available today, including ceramic, porcelain, resin, and stainless steel. However, there are benefits and cons for each type. We will address your specific situation and recommend a type of crown that is best for your treatment.

The procedure for placing a dental crown takes two visits or less. In the first visit, we will examine the tooth to ensure that it can support a crown, we begin filing it down and place a new temporary crown until the final crown is ready to be permanently placed. After the tooth is filed and or filled to the proper shape, our team will take a precise dental impression that our dental lab will use in order to create the permanent crown.

In your second visit, the temporary crown is removed and then we place the new crown to the tooth. After a few days of getting used to the new crown, you will feel it function like a regular tooth.




Dentures


Dentures are replacements for missing teeth. Without the support from dentures, you run the risk of having your facial muscles soften, making you appear older. At the same time dentures can help you regain the ability to eat and speak more comfortably - of course with time! Today, dentures have evolved rapidly in quality, comfort and look! However, they will never feel exactly the same as your natural teeth.

One needs to keep in mind that new dentures may feel strange from days to months, but all temporary. It is common to experience difficulty speaking, loose feeling, excessive saliva, irritation, and soreness.

We offer two types of dentures: full and partial. We will help you choose the type of denture that is best for your treatment.

With dentures comes responsibility. Make sure that your dentures don't run dry! Never use hot water, which can cause dentures to warp. Keep them clean by brushing them to avoid staining. At the same time, make sure you brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.




Extractions


Depending on a few factors, if a tooth is broken or decayed, we may try to fix it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. However, if there is excessive damage to the point that the tooth cannot be repaired back to normal, we may recommend a tooth extraction. This means the removal of the tooth from its bone socket.

There are two types of tooth extractions:

  • Simple tooth extraction: This is done when we can see the tooth. We simply loosen the tooth and remove the tooth

  • Surgical tooth extraction: This is done when the tooth is broken, shattered at the gum line or has not erupted above the gum line. In this case, we make a small incision into the gum and remove the impacted wisdom teeth or broken tooth

Keep in mind that when a tooth is extracted, neighboring teeth will shift and further cause problems with your bite. To avoid some of these potential dental issues, we may recommend additional treatment such as replacing the extracted tooth.

After your tooth extraction, we will provide you with detailed instructions on what to do and not do to ensure you recover smoothly.




Fillings


A dental filling is a procedure to restore a damaged tooth back normal. Fillings are often recommended when you have a cavity.

When we place a dental filling, we first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned-out cavity with a filling. By closing off spaces in the tooth, we prevent bacteria from entering and further stop decay.

There are many dental filling materials available. For example, fillings can be made out of composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), amalgam, porcelain, and even gold. However, we will recommend the best filling for your treatment. This is often determined by the type of restoration, allergies you may have, location of the filling, and the cost.

No one type of dental filling is the best for everyone. What's right for you will be determined by the extent of the dental repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost.

It is important to note that if tooth decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of your tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Sometimes, decay can reach your toot nerve. As a result, we may: 1) Perform a root canal (remove the damage nerve) or 2) Pulp capping (keep the nerve alive). Keep in mind that the type of treatment we recommend will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.




Fluoride


Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources. There are two great benefits to using fluoride:

  • Reduces cavities in children and adults

  • Helps repair the early stages of tooth decay, even before the decay is visible

No matter your age, fluoride is the best cavity fighter. How? Your teeth absorb fluoride into the enamel. Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in your body. It covers the outer layer of each tooth and it is the most visible part of the tooth. When fluoride is absorbed, the process is called remineralization. This process helps strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay.




Implant restoration


If there is a problem with your dental implant such as the implant becoming loose or the crown cracks or fall offs, there is a way to restore the implant. However, it is important to note that the stability and success of your dental implant depends on a few factors, but not limited to the below:

  • Your jawbone remaining dense and strong

  • Gum disease or an infection surrounding the dental implant

Depending on which part of the implant is being repaired, either the tooth (dental crown) or the actual implant, the procedure will differ. Repairing the crack or chip without actually removing the crown generally is the fastest restoration. If the crown requires to be replaced, our dental lab will generate a new crown for us to secure onto your implant. If the actual implant becomes loose, it may be removed, and the area cleaned. Once you are healed, we will place a new implant.

If the implant completely fails or you need an implant replaced, our team will explain the best course of action for your current dental health and the steps prescribed for your implant restoration.




Mouthguards


Mouth guards, also known as sports guards, are a dental device worn over your teeth that protects them from impact. Mouth guards are critical in sports as they often prevent major trauma. If you or your family participate in a sport that involves regular impact, falling or constant contact, you can prevent trauma to the teeth by wearing a mouth guard.

Mouth guards are meant to be comfortable and durable! They should fit properly and not restrict your speech or breathing. There are three types mouth guards:

  • Custom: These are individually designed and provide the most comfort, fit and best protection athletes prefer customized mouth guards

  • Boil and bite: These come in a general shape and modified by boiling the mouth guard in water and biting into the warm plastic for a customized fit

  • Pre made: These come pre-formed, ready to wear. However, they don’t fit well and often very uncomfortable

If you wear braces or other fixed dental devices (for example a dental bridge), we may recommend a mouth protector.




Nightguards


If you frequently wake up with a headache, jaw or teeth pain, you may have condition called bruxism also known as teeth grinding. Teeth grinding, if left untreated, leads to chipped and crack teeth including straining of jaw muscles.

A common approach to treating teeth grinding is the use of a night guard. A night guard is typically worn when you sleep at night. The process of making a night guard is similar to a mouth guard. We take an impression of your mouth and by using this model, our dental lab designs and creates a high-quality night guard that will fit comfortably.




Dental exams


The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful. During your dental exam, you will meet with one of our dentists to talk about your medical history. This is your opportunity to share your concerns and worries (such as anxiety or fears). Your comfort is important to us! We encourage you to ask questions to have an insightful discussion. In addition to this conversation, we will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth, and take digital x-rays (in some cases panoramic digital X-rays) in order to assess your overall dental health.




Root canals


In the past, a tooth with disease or decay would be simply extracted. However, a root canal is a common procedure that helps repair and save a severely damaged tooth. Some examples that often lead to a root canal are:

  • Cavities

  • Cracked or fractured tooth

  • General injury to the tooth

The name of this dental procedure is derived from the actual cleaning of damaged area inside the tooth, also known as the pulp (pulpectomy). The pulp is a soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. This soft tissue helps sustain your tooth and is located inside the tooth extending from the crown to the root within the jaw. Thus, if a tooth is left untreated, you may accumulate puss at the root, forming a "pus-pocket" called an abscess. This leads to high pain, swelling and sometimes fever.

A root canal is not as painful as some describe and can be explained in three steps:

1) We remove the damaged area of the tooth

2) Then, the area is then disinfected and cleaned

3) We then fill and seal the tooth

Something important to remember is that if the root of a treated tooth is nourished, the tooth will remain healthy. This is why it is important to continue to care for your teeth and gums.




Sealants


A dental sealant is a clear or white plastic protective layer that is generally placed on the chewing surface of permanent teeth to help protect them from tooth decay.

Dental sealants are used to protect the fissures within molar as well as pre-molar teeth. These fissures can be deep and very difficult to clean. If left untreated, plaque easily accumulates causing the enamel to wear off leading to cavities. Dental sealants and fluoride treatment are a great combination. Here’s why: Dental sealants provide protection of fissured areas while fluoride covers all the surfaces of the teeth.

It is also common to place sealants as soon as the first permanent molar tooth erupts beyond the gum line. In some children, baby teeth also have grooves that could benefit from dental sealants. In some cases, we may recommend sealants on the chewing surfaces of these primary teeth. It is worth noting that dental sealants are sometimes placed in adults with high risk of cavities.

We place dental sealants in three easy steps:

1) We first clean the tooth and dry it

2) Then a solution is placed on the fissured area of the tooth which allows the dental sealant to attach

3) Finally, a liquid sealant is placed on the tooth and hardened

Once we finish these three steps, you will be able to chew normally. Dental sealants can last many years. We can place a new dental sealant on the tooth, if needed.




Veneers


Veneers are a fast way to a beautiful smile. Veneers can feel natural, increase both your confidence and well-being.

A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and durability comparable to natural enamel. This type of cosmetic treatment is perfect for patients that would like to:

1) Improve the brightness of their smile

2) Straighten their smile

3) Correct issues such as fractures chips

Veneers are generally placed very easily. Depending on your dental sensitivity, we may apply a local anesthetic. Then, we will clean the tooth and determine the correct shade. Once the shade is selected, we will remove part of the enamel from your tooth to place the veneer. Next, we will take an impression of the tooth which will be used by our dental lab. While the dental lab creates your beautiful veneers, we will place temporary veneers until the final veneers are delivered from our dental lab. The final step is cementing the veneer and placed for fit and shape. We may do some polishing to finalize any micro-details.

As with any cosmetic treatment, you should always brush, floss and limit your intake of staining foods (coffee or wine). Having proper oral hygiene will help your veneers last as long as possible.




Wisdom teeth


During a person’s lifetime, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge. This happens around the age of 16 and 21. One common dental issue is that given that these are the last teeth to emerge, your mouth does not have enough room left for more teeth! This often leads to impacted teeth where wisdom teeth become trapped under your gums either by bone or teeth. In some cases, this leads to tenderness of the gums and swelling.

Another way that wisdom teeth can negatively impact your mouth is when they partially come in crooked. This leads to tooth decay and also dental crowding. This can make your once straight teeth become crooked. Nevertheless, we will assess if your wisdom teeth should be removed to prevent future dental complications.

Wisdom teeth extraction is relatively a routine procedure that many patients go through in their lifetime. We will engage our oral surgeon who may recommend a few options such as the anesthetics used during the extraction.

After wisdom teeth are extracted, you will receive special instructions in order to keep swelling and post-surgery pain at a minimum. You should recover in about 5 to 7 days. As with any other dental treatment, it is always important to keep your mouth clean even after your mouth heals.




Digital X-rays


Digital dental X-rays, allow us to accurately diagnose, predict, and treat dental problems before they become serious. Also known as radiographs, they allow us to see inside your teeth, roots, and bone underneath your gums. These are places that would not be visible to the human eye! Digital dental X-rays also help us rule out any potential diseases and isolate specific dental problems such cavities, evaluation of tooth decay, impacted teeth (common with wisdom teeth), and bone loss due to gum disease.

We may recommend digital X-rays based on your treatment and to further evaluate your oral health. It is important to note that we are committed to your overall health and offer digital X-rays, which reduces radiation exposure. Digital X-rays offer a wide selection of imaging options designed to save time, money, and provide clear high definition dental photos.




Emergency dental care


Here are tips on how to handle common oral emergencies. These tips should help you assess if you require immediate dental attention and if so, do not hesitate to call us.

  • Broken jaw: Apply ice or a cold compress to the face, call us or vist an emergency care center

  • Broken, chipped or cracked tooth: Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water and apply a cold compress to your face. If the tooth was chipped or broken, bring the tooth fragment wrapped in wet towerl or gauze. Make sure to call us right away

  • Knocked-out tooth: For a knocked-out tooth, carefully place the knocked out tooth back in its socket while holding the tooth by the crown using a clean washcloth, never by the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse the root and don't scrub it or remove any attached tissue. Keep calm! If reinsertion is not possible, hold the tooth under the tongue and call us right away

  • Bitten tongue or lip: Clean the area with a wet cloth or gauze and place a cold compress to reduce the swelling. If the bleeding continues or if it is excessive, call us or visit an emergency care center

We provide emergency dental care when you need it. Just walk in or give us a call




Laser dentistry


We provide our patients the latest technology in dentistry. Dental laser therapy allows us to provide precise dental treatment that is comfortable, faster, and generates beautiful results.

Our patients love that lasers may be used in place of drills and often replace dental anesthesia. This reduces discomfort and anxiety. With laser dentistry we can control bleeding and lessen the need for sutures. Laser dentistry helps us reduce damage to surrounding tissue, which helps increase the rate at which you heal.

You may encounter laser dentistry in some commons instances:

  • Increase results from tooth whitening

  • Repairing worn-down fillings

  • Removing or reshaping of gum tissue

  • Reducing pain from cold sores and cankers

  • Removing inflamed gum tissue

  • Preparing tooth enamel for composite bonding

Dental lasers are a safe option for dental care. All lasers sold in the United States have been approved by the FDA based on research and data supporting the effectiveness and safety of each laser system.




Oral cancer screening


Oral cancer is a real problem and one that can impact anyone by surprise. It is critical to know that oral cancer symptoms can be painful or painless. To help prevent cancer, we provide and often encourage oral cancer screenings that consist of:

  • A visual exam: We check your neck, lips, face, nose and all major parts of your mouth. We look for swellings, patches of color, ulcers and other abnormalities

  • A physical exam: We touch and asses your cheeks, head, jaw, and chin for nodes or masses. We look for immobility in tissue and also discomfort.

By performing an oral cancer screening, we can reassure you that there are no apparent or foreseeable problems. Prevention is key! However, if we find something irregular, we may collect lab samples and test for oral cancer. In addition, depending on your lifestyle, we may suggest regular intervals at which you will be checked for symptoms and abnormalities.

Early diagnosis of oral cancer can reduce related treatment and health problems in the long term. Oral cancer screening should be a part of your regular bi-annual dental visits.




Dental cleanings and deep cleanings


Dental cleaning

During a dental cleaning, one of our hygienists will carefully clean your teeth to remove any hard-mineral buildup (tartar) from your teeth (above the gum line). Once this is done, your teeth will be flossed, we will then apply a polishing compound, and sometimes apply fluoride. If we find tooth decay or gum disease, we will recommend that you change your brushing and flossing habits. In some cases, we may prescribe antibiotics or suggest other dental treatments to treat gum disease. However, if your teeth and gums look healthy, your we will recommend that you continue your brushing and flossing routine as usual!

Deep cleaning

If you have missed appointments or you have been missing in action from the dentist, you may be due for a deep cleaning! This is also commonly known as "scaling and root planing". Scaling is when we remove all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gum line. This is done to ensure that we clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Once this is done, we will then begin root planing which deals with the smoothing out of your teeth roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth. In some cases, scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic.

If you have any anxiety or fears about your dental cleaning, be sure to let us know in order to accommodate your needs. This will help us make you feel comfortable and relaxed!




Oral surgery


Oral surgery covers conditions which affect the mouth and jaw.

The most common types of procedures done by an oral surgeon are dental implants, bone grafting for dental implants, and wisdom tooth extraction. However, there are other areas which are key in oral surgery:

  • Head and neck cancer treatment

  • Cleft lip treatment

  • Eye and nose recontouring

  • Facial trauma treatment such as fixing broken bones

  • Sleep apnea treatment

Oral surgery is a great option for tooth replacement, preventable damage surrounding bone and mouth structure, and a way to treat problems rather than symptoms.




Preventive dentistry


The majority of dental problems found in patients can be prevented with regular bi-annual visits. Preventive dentistry is the oral care that involves patient education, treatment and healthy maintenance of your teeth and gums. Here are some examples of preventive dental care: 1) Daily brushing and flossing, 2) Bi-annual dental cleanings, and 3) Oral cancer screenings. Kids and adults can benefit by keep gum disease, cavities and other common dental conditions away. Throughout your dental visits, we may recommend preventable treatment if we discover any potential dental issues. Developing preventive oral health habits at an early stage in life, can lead to better overall oral health throughout your life time.




Root Canal Retreatment


There are cases when a tooth that has been treated with a root canal doesn't heal properly and produces pain. If this is happening to you, endodontic retreatment may be a great choice. The goal of endodontic retreatment is to give your tooth a second chance at healing properly ultimately saving your tooth. During endodontic retreatment a few steps will occur: We will remove the canal filling Examine the canals for abnormalities Clean the canals, seal, and place a filling Once the process is completed a new crown or restoration will be placed on the tooth to restore it back to its full function and look. However, if we see that the canals are very narrow, we may perform an endodontic surgery to further complete the endodontic retreatment.





 

New Patient Hotline

Call: (650) 273-4323

 

General Info  

Call/ Text : (650) 871-1400

South San Francisco Dental Care

2400 Westborough Blvd, St. 205,

South San Francisco, CA 94080

 

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8am to 5pm         

Saturdays  by appointment

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