Is Cosmetic Dentistry Helpful in Smile Designing?

 Cosmetic dentistry differs from general dentistry in that the goal is to improve one’s looks by improving the teeth, mouth, or smile. A cosmetic dentist can treat a variety of problems that are not considered health risks to make a person more comfortable with their appearance. Services offered by cosmetic dentistry in San Pablo, CA can range from simple to complex procedures. 

Who should consider Cosmetic Dentistry in San Pablo, CA?

The answer to this question is simple. Anyone who doesn’t like the way their teeth or smile looks is a candidate. Smile designing includes everything from whitening treatment for discolored teeth to repairing chipped or misshapen teeth. Dr. Edwin Kim and Dr. Jacqueline Lee two of of the best cosmetic dentists in the East Bay area, help patients improve their appearance through smile designing using cosmetic dentistry treatment options. Some of the most popular includes:

Your first step is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee or Dr. Kim at San Pablo Dental Care. Our professional staff has the experience and expertise to provide you with the best recommendations to help you get the smile makeover you desire.

Smile Designing with Cosmetic Dentistry

A skilled cosmetic dentist can help make a difference in your appearance and smile. It can help you feel and look younger too. Usually, cosmetic procedures are used to restore chipped, cracked, discolored, or missing teeth which also help improve jaw alignment and the bite. Here’s a more detailed look at how these cosmetic procedures can help with smile designing.

Missing, Uneven, or Damaged Teeth – several options are available to help with teeth that are disproportionate, missing, chipped, or cracked. A cosmetic dentist at San Pablo Dentistry may suggest veneers, bridges, or implants as cosmetic solutions for these problems.

Brightness – There are many factors that can contribute to stained or discolored teeth. Caffeine, diet, smoking, and aging can cause teeth to become stained or off-color. Smile designing using cosmetic dentistry can eliminate the discoloration or stains and make teeth appear brighter and whiter.

Spacing and Alignment – Cosmetic dentistry has many available procedures to help correct gaps and misaligned teeth. Dental bonding is a quick and easy solution for fixing gaps between teeth. Tooth-colored resin is often used to shape teeth and give them a more natural look. Aligners can help move teeth back into proper alignment.

Treating Gums – Smile designing with cosmetic dentistry includes improving a gummy smile and balancing out the amount of gum that is seen. Shaping irregular gum contours and other serious gum issues can be corrected using cosmetic dentistry.

Factors Considered in Smile Designing

When you are not happy with your smile, it can be difficult to describe just what you want to be done to change it. Deciding what makes one smile more beautiful than another can be subjective. But there are a few things that can be used to measure the aesthetic quality of a smile. When you are ready for smile designing, these factors can be considered.

  • Symmetry of the teeth and mouth should be balanced and rightly aligned with the eyes and the facial midline.
  •  Shape of the mouth, lips, and teeth create a signature shape for your smile. Cosmetic dental procedures help align the edges of the upper teeth and the smile line.
  • Tooth characterization includes the shape of individual teeth and how this affects the smile. Smaller, rounder, smoother teeth are often considered more feminine. Square-shaped, larger teeth are more masculine.
  • Proportion is the most prominent feature of a smile. The two front teeth make the biggest impact and need to be the right length to create a balanced, healthy smile.
  • Color is more important and complex than it might seem. It should be considered and balanced with the individual’s age, hair, skin, and eye color.
  • Occlusion can prevent the functionality of the teeth. The upper and lower teeth should contact each other when the mouth is closed. This is essential for the overall look of the smile, as well as for chewing and jaw alignment.

Contact Dr. Jacqueline Lee or Dr. Edwin Kim

When you are ready for smile designing, you want a dentist who has the experience and expertise to use cosmetic procedures successfully on your behalf. Dr. Edwin Kim at San Pablo Dental has specialized training, artistic skills, and experience to provide you with a wide range of cosmetic dental solutions. Call us to schedule a consultation!

Is Dental Care Safe During a Pandemic?

As dental healthcare providers, your San Pablo dentists are closely following the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA). We are seeing patients for emergency care and on a case-by-case basis as long as you don’t have symptoms such as shortness of breath, running a fever, or dealing with a persistent cough.

New Check-in Policies at San Pablo Dental Care

Thank you for being understanding as we implement new check-in policies during the pandemic. Drs. Edwin Kim and Jacqueline Lee put these in place to ensure your safety and the safety of the community as well.

  1. Patient’s temperature will be taken when they check-in. Anyone who has a fever or elevated temperature will have to reschedule their appointment.
  2.  Adults are asked to come alone to their appointments.
  3. Adults who are bringing a child to an appointment are asked to bring only the child who has a scheduled appointment.
  4. After completing the check-in process, patients are asked to remain in their vehicles. When the dentist is ready to see you, the office will call or send a text.

Frequently Asked Questions

As the state of California continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, patients have a lot of questions about dental care. Here are some of the most common questions we hear from patients.

Is it safe to seek dental care during a pandemic?

We assure you San Pablo Dental Care adheres to recommendations set forth by the ADA, the CDC, OSHA and our state and local regulatory bodies to ensure you continue to receive compassionate and safe care. Should it become unsafe to access dental care, our offices will keep you updated.

What precautions is the San Pablo Dental team taking to prevent infections from spreading?

Prior to the COVID-19 breakout, infection control was an important issue for dental offices. At our offices, we were following the strict infection control procedures as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the American Dental Association.

  • Sanitization: All of our public spaces are sanitized. This includes waiting areas, restrooms, and treatment rooms.
  • Disinfectant Spray: We apply medical-grade disinfectant sprays to operator rooms after each patient per the CDC guidelines. This includes high-touch areas like countertops, chairs, and equipment.
  • Protective Barriers: We place protective barriers on items like curing lights, overhead lights, suction tips, computer keyboards, and armrests.
  • Sterilization of Instruments: Our dental instruments are sterilized after each patient. CDC protocol is strictly followed as it applies to sterilizing dental instruments.

Is San Pablo Dental Care taking any extra precautions to ensure safe dental services during the pandemic?

  • Our staff understands the need to remain at home if they show symptoms like sneezing, difficulty breathing, or coughing.
  • Staff members are encouraged to refrain from traveling at this time, but if they travel to a Level 2 or 3 area they will be required to self-quarantine before returning to work.
  • We have implemented a three-point screening process for seeing patients. Patients are screened for symptoms or exposure when their appointment is scheduled, once they confirm the appointment, and when they arrive for their appointment.
  • We have also increased the interval between patient appointments.
  • Patients are asked to remain in their vehicles once they have checked in. When the staff is ready to see them, they will be notified by phone call or text.

Do you have more questions for San Pablo Dental Care?

Please reach out to us if you have more questions or concerns about your dental appointment and COVID-19.  Your San Pablo dental team appreciates your patience during these trying times. Once we return to a sense of normalcy, we suggest you see your dental professional for a checkup twice a year as part of your preventative dental care plan.

Reasons to Not Delay Dental Care

Sometimes, when you discover a cavity or sore gums, you are tempted to wait on calling the dentist until the situation gets worse and causes you more problems. You may think it’s good to wait until it starts to hurt before you try to get it fixed. Your Contra Costa dentists recommend to not delay dental care. There are several very good reasons you should not skip routine visits or delay oral care.

Dental Issues Won’t Fix Themselves

There are a few health and medical issues that can heal on their own given enough time. Dental issues are not one of them. Instead, dental problems tend to worsen as more time goes by. Unfortunately, cavities and infections, including gum disease, don’t get better with time; they actually become worse. Avoiding dental care can mean you’ll need more aggressive and invasive treatment. With an infection, dentists can remove bacteria and prescribe medications to help the healing process. Cavities can be filled to stop the damage. Without these interventions, though, they will just continue to get worse and can cause more damage.

Some like to rely on homeopathic and DIY remedies for treating dental problems. The trouble with these is that it often just gives the condition more time to worsen. Our Contra Costa dental office uses preventative and minimally invasive treatment options when possible. We take the route of halting or reversing a condition first before recommending more invasive treatment options if it’s possible. The best option is to see a dentist as soon as you experience even the slightest symptoms. However, symptoms are not always present, so you cannot play your dental care around them. There are times when a problem doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort.

 No Pain Doesn’t Mean No Problem!

Pain is what often alerts you to a problem like a cavity, gum disease, or an abscessed tooth. It is unpleasant, and it’s often what motivates a person to seek treatment. But just because there isn’t any pain, it doesn’t mean no problem exists. In some of the most severe cases of tooth decay or a dental abscess, the affected nerve becomes deadened, so there is no pain felt in the area. If you do see a problem like swollen gums or a cavity, don’t wait for the pain to start before seeking dental care. You need a dental professional to intervene right away. The trouble is that there are often no symptoms at all. This is why regular checkups with your Contra Costa dentist and dental care team are important. A dentist can often discover a problem in an exam before you even have any symptoms. This allows for swift and effective treatment and reduces the chances you will have to undergo more invasive treatment later. This is a great reason for you to not delay dental care.

Delaying Dental Treatment Can Cost You More

Because dental problems progress as time passes, treatment options change accordingly. For example, when a small cavity is discovered during a routine checkup, it can be filled to prevent it from spreading. If you notice it, but don’t have any symptoms, it may be tempting to wait to get it seen about. But delaying treatment may mean it spreads and causes further damages. By the time you notice symptoms and go to the dentist again, decay may have spread to nearby teeth. It might have already affected the nerve and created an abscess. Now, instead of just a filling, you may need a root canal, a crown, and other fillings in teeth that were cavity-free at your last exam. Instead of paying for a filling, you may be paying more than double out of pocket for more intensive treatments. Even if you have dental insurance, your fees may be much more than originally expected.

Contact San Pablo Dental Care

Is it time for a routine exam? Contact our dental office to schedule your dental exam and dental cleaning today. Let Dr. Edwin Kim and Dr. Jacqueline Lee protect your oral health.


Vaping and Your Oral Health

Vaping and e-cigarettes have become very popular over the last few years. One reason for this surge of popularity is the promise of fewer health risks than those posed by cigarettes. However, many people do not consider how the chemicals in an -e-cigarette can negatively impact your oral health. The liquid used in vaping does not contain the tar associated with cigarettes, but other aspects can still be harmful to oral health.

What is in E-Cigarettes?

An e-cigarette works by heating a liquid, which is called vape juice. When the vape juice reaches a specific temperature, it turns into vapor. The liquid made especially for vaping includes water, flavorings, glycerin, and propylene glycol. It has no tar, unlike regular cigarettes, but most types of vape juice do contain nicotine.

Is Vaping Safe for Mouths?

At least removing the tar takes out one chemical that’s harmful to your mouth. However, the studies to determine the long-term effects of the other chemicals in vape juice are still being conducted. It’s not yet clear how safe they may be. What your San Pablo dental team does know, is that some of the chemicals in vape juice do harm your oral health. Here are a few of the potential hazards.

Inhaling Bacteria

When bacteria settle in the grooves and pits of the teeth, it leads to tooth decay and cavities. When vaping, you inhale the vapors and bring bacteria into the mouth with them. It has the same effect as eating sticky, sweet foods. Excessive bacteria in the mouth also contribute to plaque buildup. Users often find they are more prone to cavities, especially if they do not maintain good oral hygiene.

Dry Mouth

Some users may experience dry mouth due to the propylene glycol in e-cigarettes. It may not sound serious, but it is annoying and can lead to other serious problems. The saliva provides a natural defense against bacteria. Vaping removes some of the moisture leaving your mouth vulnerable to developing cavities and tooth decay. Other side effects from dry mouth include painful sores in the mouth and chronic bad breath for some.

Vaping and Periodontal Disease

Having extra bacteria in your mouth, along with dry mouth can have adverse consequences on your gum health. Vaping itself can harm gum tissue too. Some users have found they are sensitive to the chemicals used in vape juice. This can cause the gums to become irritated and inflamed. If it is a serious case, the gums may develop pockets, bleed, or recede. These are all signs of gum disease.

Candy-Like Flavoring

One of the things so appealing about vaping is the wide variety of flavors available. If you’ve been around someone who is vaping, you probably noticed the sweet aroma. The flavorings used to make vape juice have the same properties and present the same problems as sugar-filled drinks and candy. This, of course, means they contribute to a higher risk of cavities and decay.

If You Choose to Vape

There are studies still being conducted to determine the full impact of vaping on oral health. Even though e-cigarettes are not deemed by many users to be as harmful as a regular cigarette, they do still present some problems. If you choose to vape, just be aware of the possible risks. Your San Pablo dentists have a few tips to help you lessen the risks of vaping. 

  • Avoid using vape juice that has nicotine.
  • Drink extra water to offset the reduced moisture in the mouth.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing every day.
  • Continue seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.

Contact Us

Please contact your San Pablo Dental Care team if you have any questions about vaping and its effect on your oral health. Drs. Edwin Kim and Jacqueline Lee will be happy to answer your questions.

Oral Care for Cold and Flu Season

We are at the peak of cold and flu season and if you are unfortunate enough to get either of these, you are probably mostly focused on just feeling better. It’s important to try to maintain good oral hygiene even when you aren’t feeling your best. When you are sick, it becomes even more important. Your San Pablo dentists have compiled a short list of oral care tips to help protect your teeth when you are feeling under the weather.

Maintain Good Oral Care Hygiene Routines

Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. This is a common courtesy to help prevent spreading germs and viruses to others. The flu virus is capable of living on some surfaces for up to 72 hours. You should never share your toothbrush, but this is especially true if you’ve been sick. Some dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick with the flu or a cold. That’s not necessary. You are not likely to re-infect yourself with the virus unless you have a highly compromised or weakened immune system. Our San Pablo dental team recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to six months. If it’s been three months and it’s time to replace it, it’s a good time to do it. It is certainly better safe than sorry.

Choosing Cough Drops

When you have a sore throat or the sniffles, don’t be quick to grab just any bag of cough drops. Carefully read the ingredient label first. Most cough drops are made with sugar which is a major contributor to developing cavities. Cough drops with sugar can be just as dangerous for your teeth as eating candy. Holding a cough drop in your mouth for a long time allows cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth to thrive off the sugar. It’s like you are feeding them just what they need. The additional acid can cause damage to the teeth. Choose sugar-free cough drops instead.

Swishing Your Mouth With Water

No one likes to think about it, but vomiting is often a side effect of having the flu or a virus. If you do throw up, don’t brush your teeth immediately. It’s best to wait for a little bit. When you vomit, stomach acid comes into contact with the teeth and coats them. Brushing too soon will just help the acid better coat the teeth. Try swishing with water instead. A good mouth rinse is made by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Rinse your mouth and spit it out. Then, wait 30 minutes before brushing.

Staying Hydrated

There are a lot of reasons you’ll need to drink more fluids when you are sick. From a dental standpoint, staying hydrated can help prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but it can also increase the risk of developing cavities. Many of the pharmaceutical products that help relieve symptoms also dry out your mouth. Drinking plenty of sugar-free liquids helps keep you hydrated and protect your mouth from drying out. Sugar-free throat lozenges can also help you maintain a healthy amount of saliva.

What types of liquids are best? Water is always the best choice. It’s safer for your body and your teeth. Secondly, natural fruit juices are suitable, but you don’t want to overdo them. Physicians often recommend sports drinks to help balance out electrolytes. Stick with sugar-free sports drinks if you can. At least drink them in moderation and don’t continue drinking them once you have recovered.

Contact Your San Pablo Dental Care Team

Drs. Edwin Kim and Jacqueline Lee are available to answer your questions about oral care. Contact us with your questions and concerns. Or call today to schedule your next appointment. We are here to help you!

How Common are Tooth Extractions?

Getting a tooth pulled is not something anyone really wants to think about, but sometimes it is necessary. San Pablo dentists will, of course, do everything possible to save a tooth before pulling it. But there are instances when a tooth extraction is necessary. Sometimes, it’s the best option for helping you preserve your oral and overall health.

Common Reasons for Tooth Extractions

You’ve probably heard of someone who had to have their wisdom teeth removed. This is a very common reason for tooth extraction. When there isn’t enough room at the back of the mouth, the wisdom teeth cannot emerge as they should. Oftentimes, they become impacted or infected. It’s often the best option to pull them. Another common reason for pulling teeth is to prepare the mouth for orthodontic treatments like braces. Removing one or more teeth allows room for the teeth to be adjusted into proper alignment.

Sometimes, a tooth becomes damaged by accident, a sports injury, or a fall. When a tooth is too damaged to repair, then it may need to be extracted. If a tooth becomes abscessed, it’s not always visible right away. If the infection becomes too bad, or if the tooth becomes decayed beyond repair, it will be extracted. When you have to have a tooth pulled Drs. Edwin Kim and Jacqueline Lee can also provide a tooth replacement such as a bridge or a partial denture.

Types of Tooth Extractions

There are basically two methods used by dentists to pull a tooth. A simple extraction or a surgical procedure can be used to remove one or more teeth. Here are some things to expect from either method.

A Simple Tooth Extraction

If the tooth can be seen inside the mouth, a simple tooth extraction can be used. This is often the method to remove teeth before orthodontic treatments, or for removing a tooth that is badly damaged or decayed. A general dentist can extract a tooth. They will administer local anesthesia to deaden the area before they begin. This will keep you from feeling pain during the procedure. You may be given anti-anxiety medication if you suffer from dental anxiety. After the procedure, taking over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient for managing any pain or discomfort you may feel.

Surgical Tooth Extraction

If you have to have wisdom teeth removed, or if a tooth has broken off and cannot be seen, a surgical procedure is necessary. Oral surgeons usually perform surgical tooth extractions. The patient is given general anesthesia before having the surgery. Sometimes, people who have special medical concerns or conditions are administered general anesthesia before pulling teeth. Once the procedure has been completed, the dentist may write you a prescription for medication to help with pain management. 

What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction

No matter what method is used to extract the tooth or teeth, the dentist will give you specific instructions for your care. It’s important that you follow these instructions closely. Following them will ensure your oral and overall health. They will probably include some things like:

  • Soft Food Diet. You will most likely need to stick to just liquids until the anesthesia wears off completely. After that, you will probably be limited to consuming soft foods for a few days. Your dentist will give you more detailed instructions
  • Oral Care. Immediately following the procedure, you won’t want to brush the teeth directly adjacent to the area where the tooth was removed. You can brush the rest of your teeth though. Usually, after two days, the dentist will recommend you return to your regular oral care regimen.

Contact Your San Pablo Dental Team

If you have any problems with a tooth or are concerned about tooth pain, please contact the San Pablo Dental care team. We will be happy to answer any questions. Schedule an exam today!

How to Keep Tooth Enamel Strong

The outer surface of teeth that protects them from decay is called tooth enamel. Although wear and tear on the enamel are normal, you should try to keep it strong. Here are a few tips from San Pablo Dental Care.

Consider foods that protect enamel

Foods such as milk, cheese, and other dairy products are rich in calcium. There are also many non-dairy foods that contain calcium like broccoli and almonds. Calcium is important because it counters acids that cause decay, helping to protect and strengthen the enamel. In addition to eating these foods and drinking plenty of plain water, San Pablo dentists advise that you limit sugary foods and drinks. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and produce acids that wear down the enamel.

Use fluoride

Fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen the enamel and repair decay in the early stages. Your San Pablo dental team can provide guidance for choosing the right fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.  However, you should also avoid poor brushing habits like brushing too fast or hard. This can weaken the enamel. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush from side to side. 

Watch out for dry mouth

Keeping your mouth hydrated will help prevent bacteria from thriving. Drinking plenty of water also washes down food particles that the microorganisms feed on. If you experience severe heartburn or eating disorders, you should seek treatment for the conditions since acids from the stomach can weaken the enamel on your teeth.

Treat Teeth Grinding

Grinding teeth can also cause damage to tooth enamel. Most people do this at nighttime while they are sleeping. A dental professional can examine teeth and suggest a mouthguard that can be worn at night. This can help protect the teeth and the enamel.

Regular dental checkups

Drs. Edwin Kim and Jacqueline Lee recommend scheduling regular visits to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. Call our office today to set up your appointment.

Information About Mouthguards for Parents

Most people know that mouthguards can help prevent dental emergencies when participating in sports. But do your kids need them? Turns out, kids need the protection of a mouthguard when engaging in any rigorous sport or activity. The experts at San Pablo Dental Care advise parents to learn more about the protective athletic gear.

Benefits of Mouthguards

Our San Pablo dentists agree that mouthguards have many benefits for children who participate in high-risk sports and recreational activities. Also known as mouth protectors, the equipment reduces the risk of broken teeth and helps prevent injuries to the tongue, lips, jaw, or face. Athletes who use mouth guards are less likely to experience a dental injury, making it important for children to use them from an early age.

Types of Mouthguards

There are three types of mouthguards you need to know about: custom-fitted, stock, and bol -and-bite. Custom-fitted mouth protectors are customized and more expensive. However, they offer both the highest level of protection and the best fit of all the mouthguards available. They are specifically made to fit the mouth of your child. The dentist will make an impression of their mouth which is then used to make the protective piece.

Stock mouth guards are cheaper and do not fit as well since they are pre-formed. You can find it in any sports department or store. They are a buy and use the variety that offers the least protection. However, some protection is definitely better than none.

Boil-and-bite fit better than stock mouth guards as they adapt to the shape of the patient’s mouth. These are not as expensive as a custom-fitted guard, but offer more protection and a better fit than the stock variety.

Let Us Help

Our San Pablo dental team will help you choose the best mouthguard for your child’s teeth and needs. Drs. Edwin Kim and Jacqueline Lee recommend custom-made mouthguards that fit perfectly. However, consulting an experienced dentist or orthodontist will ensure the best protection for your child.

San Pablo Dental Care

13925 San Pablo Ave., Ste. 210
San Pablo, CA 94806

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