Advanced Procedures

Creating the healthy smile you want through science and artistry.

Crowns

Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is either likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. A crown is more likely to be needed if a cavity produces a large hole. Whenever a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Our jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body, which means our teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns are placed over the weakened tooth providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. Crowns prevent a tooth becomes broken or cracked which is a serious matter to fix.

Typically it takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. In the first any decay is removed from the tooth and the tooth is shaped to accept the crown. An impression is then made of the tooth for use in fabricating a crown. Between the two visits the crown is made out of either high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn. In the second visit this temporary is removed and the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and then cemented in place. With their natural look and feel, crowns will give you a beautiful smile.

Dentures

While there are different types of dentures, they all share one common function: to replace teeth thathave become loose or have fallen out due to bone loss. Often people ask the question of when to get dentures? When bone loss around the roots of teeth is great enough to loosen them create tooth loss,it is time for dentures. No one enjoys losing his or her natural teeth, but with dentures a person can still eat and talk regularly.

The first step is to have the entire mouth examined to determine which teeth will have to be removed, and which will remain. The loose teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth, depending on the type. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, which can take some getting used to. Once the mouth is accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance return and life resumes in a normal fashion. Often implants can be used to further stabilize the dentures. Dr. David Lester DDS provides natural looking dentures for optimal comfort and appearance.

Implants

A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around the implant forming a tight connection, which slows or stops any additional bone loss that occurs when the root of a naturaltooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the Dr. Lester attaches the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. A dental implant is preferred to a bridge in some cases because it does not stress surrounding teeth and provides a more permanent solution. If the implant tooth wears out, it can be simply replaced on the shaft.

Implants can also be used as support to an implant bridge. Implants in this manner are an alternative to partial dentures and offer several advantages. Primarily, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient. Once the implant work is done the patient only feels teeth, as opposed to metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss caused by having missing teeth. Lastly, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating once an implant is permanently in themouth.

Dr. David Lester DDS offers mini dental implants. These implants are about half the diameter of traditional implants are used mainly to stabilize lower dentures. Mini dental implants can be placedin one appointment and be used immediately after. A main advantage to this option is the cost, which is 30-50% less than standard dental implants. Call our orange county dental office today for a free consult.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment, also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy, is made necessary when a cavity reaches all the way to this pulp (often through neglect). While regular cleanings andcheckups prevent and detect problems early, sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth maycause the nerve to be damaged to the point where it requires root canal therapy. Once this occursthe pulp becomes infected, and can extend through the root tip where surrounding bone can be deteriorated (this is called an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it cannot heal on its own andmust be treated. If not treated the abscess can eventually weaken the entire immune system, which is not only painful but also very dangerous. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include: sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain when chewing or applying pressure, or a bad taste in the mouth. In some cases however, symptoms will not be present and the dentist discovers the problem at a routine check up.

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment for a tooth infection would be to extract the tooth in the most serious cases. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy. It is important to maintain regular dental check ups for early detection of any pulp infections.

Bridges

A bridge is an option created to fill in a space left by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and naturally takes the empty space in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. A bridge may be composed of gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or an all-ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or aesthetics.

It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a whole chain reaction of undesirable events. Teeth use their neighbors for support and with one missing they start to "fall." As teeth startto fall, the bite changes in response to the pressure. This change can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, causing TMJ. As the surrounding teeth deteriorate they will eventually fall out. At this point, gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.

TMJ Treatments

TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; and joint, in this case where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet at the joint, cartilage buffers and five distinct muscles are involved in that area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain in the jaw muscles
  • Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face

Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, or filling in gaps between teeth. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint. If you have not had a regular check up in the past six months or believe you may have any of these symptoms, call our office today to schedule an appointment.

Methods of Payment

You can pay for your office visits and any treatments by cash, check, credit or debit card at the time of treatment. We also accept most major dental insurances. To discuss your payment options or insurance coverage, please call (714) 532-6711.

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Financing

For your convenience, we are pleased to accept patient financing call Dental Fee Plan through CapitalOne Financing. Please inquire for more information, or click the links below.