The 7 common symptoms of tooth decay

To have healthy teeth, you must be aware of the warning indicators of tooth decay and gum disease.

When teeth are exposed to acidic foods and beverages for an extended period, they may be prone to decay. However, to consume the food, the bacteria generate harmful acids. The bacteria, acids, and food particles trapped between your teeth combine to form a biofilm coating on your teeth known as plaque.

Knowing the early warning signals of tooth decay is vital to preserving your teeth. Here are seven telltale signs of tooth decay:

1. White Flecks on the Teeth

The first indication of tooth decay is seen in white flecks on your teeth. The plaque acids have chipped away at the enamel layer, revealing the inner structure to show where damage has been done – if left untreated, this will lead to brown or black discoloration.

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque builds until it hardens into tartar. The tooth decay process’s acids will eventually eat through all of your teeth’s layers, beginning with enamel and ending at the pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves!

Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States, especially among children and teenagers. On the other hand, adults suffer from tooth decay; according to the CDC, more than 26% of American adults have untreated tooth decay.

Enamel erosion is an indication of the next stage of tooth decay. On the surface, this creates a void or gap. You’ll likely notice it when you look in the mirror while brushing or flossing.

Over time, you may feel a tiny hole or gap in your teeth with your tongue. Keep in mind that if a cavity develops, the only remedy is to visit your dentist so it can be treated and filled.

2. Bad Breath

Bad breath is another common indication of tooth decay. This is generally caused by food trapped in a cavity or a buildup of harmful germs in the mouth. Brushing and flossing your teeth (at least once a day) are the most significant dental hygiene measures. If you still have bad breath, see your dentist right away.

3. Toothache

Tooth decay is characterized by recurring pain or toothaches in the mouth. Pain is a sign that a tooth is diseased due to tooth decay. If you experience discomfort when chewing food, see your dentist.

4. Sensitivity to hot or cold foods

When you eat or drink something hot, especially if it has an even worse flavor, you might get a dull pain in your teeth. Tooth decay wears away the enamel or protective layer of the teeth. This exposes the dentin and pulp layer where your nerves lie. So any hot or cold food that you eat stimulates your nerves and blood vessels, causing pain.

5. Sensitivity to sweets

When you eat something sweet, you may experience minor or severe discomfort. We should only feel pleasure when we eat sweets, so pain indicates enamel damage.

6. Swollen gums or a tooth abscess

Tooth decay can affect your teeth in a variety of ways. If it reaches the pulp, you’ll most certainly acquire an infection because this is where nerves and blood vessels are!

7. Permanent tooth loss

The last stage and symptom of tooth decay is tooth loss. If the infection progresses far enough, a diseased or loose tooth can be ejected from its root with little help from your dentist; on rare occasions, they may even decide to pull the ailing region!

What to do to stop and correct the tooth decay

Tooth decay is a big problem, but there are methods to prevent it. If you eat many sugary foods or live an unhealthy lifestyle (eat sweets frequently), you may be at risk of getting cavities. In that scenario, the dentist may recommend varnish in afflicted regions and fluoride gel into everyday routines as added protection against future stains from plaque accumulation on teeth, which cause acid attacks on enamel – the hardest substance found inside the human body!

A crown or a filling is sometimes required in severe cases of tooth decay. A filling is used to fill the tooth after removing the damaged portion during a crown procedure. Tooth decay has progressed to the point that your pulp is dead, and you will require a root canal. Even if a root canal works to cure tooth decay, it may still fail. After healing, replace the lost tooth with a denture, dental implant, or bridge.

Plaque, Tartar, & Calculus: What is the Difference?

You may have heard the terms, plaque, tartar, and calculus and wondered what the difference was between them. Mostly, they are spoken of in a way that leads you to believe they are all enemies of good oral health, right? But how are they different, or are they?

  • Plaque – You have probably heard your San Pablo, CA dentist mention many times how important good oral hygiene is for your oral health. One reason is plaque. Plaque is a substance that forms continuously on tooth enamel. You have to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine to make sure you keep it from building up. If plaque is not addressed, it can lead to other oral health problems.
  • Tartar – If you allow plaque buildup, it will harden and turn into tartar. Tartar leads to tooth decay and numerous other dental problems. It can make a gum infection worse. Brushing alone isn’t enough to remove tartar. You’ll need the help of a dental professional to get rid of it before it causes tooth decay.
  • Calculus – Plaque and tartar are two totally different things. But tartar and calculus are the same thing. Calculus, or tartar, as you have read, can negatively impact your oral health. Good oral habits like brushing your teeth twice daily and routine exams by Dr. Edwin Kim can help prevent plaque buildup which leads to calculus.

How Tartar Impacts Your Gums

Tartar forms from plaque buildup that is caused by bacteria which is ever-present in the mouth. Untreated tartar on the teeth puts your oral health at risk and can lead to issues such as:

In its various stages, periodontal disease can cause irreversible damage to your oral health, teeth, and gums. If left untreated, tartar buildup can lead to tooth loss. This demonstrates why it’s important to visit with a dental professional who can take care of oral issues before they get out of hand.

How Tartar or Calculus Develops

Plaque begins to form because of a mix of foods and proteins that form a buildup on the teeth. It starts to work its way into the crevices of the teeth, inside the gum line, and in those hard-to-reach areas making it hard to combat it. When dental plaque hardens, calculus forms. This helps provide an ideal surface for plaque to continue to form. Calculus forms along the gum line and in the narrow areas between the teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque buildup and calculus. Once calculus forms on plaque, it’s too hard to remove with a toothbrush. A dental professional will need to remove tartar buildup with specialized tools.

Why is it crucial to remove tartar?

Gingivitis is usually the beginning of periodontal disease. If plaque is not removed from your teeth, it starts to accumulate along the gumline. Bacteria in the plaque can irritate and infect gum tissues leading to gingivitis. If plaque is not removed and tartar is allowed to build up, it can lead to more serious gum disease and dental conditions. Removing tartar helps prevent periodontal disease and helps keep your teeth and gums healthy.

The Dangers of DIY Plaque Scraping

A dental professional at San Pablo Dental Care is extensively trained in dental scaling and scraping. They know exactly what to look for and how to remove plaque and tartar safely. Even though you may think it is a simple task that you could perform at home, misuse can be harmful. You may be tempted to grab a DIY dental scraper and attempt to scrape your own teeth. Failing to realize that scrapers and dental scalers are specialized medical equipment that requires training to use safely can cause damage including:

  • Damage to delicate gum tissue leading to gum recession
  • Scratching teeth enamel which can cause tooth sensitivity
  • Injury to soft tissue like your cheeks, or tongue
  • Causing infections by accidentally pushing tartar below the gumline

Removing Plaque Safely

If you are concerned about plaque buildup, visit Dr. Kim. They can examine your mouth to determine if you have plaque or tartar buildup or other dental problems that need attention. Plaque can be removed safely by a trained dental professional like Dr. Kim or a dental hygienist. Even though it’s not safe to use a DIY plaque scaler at home, there are a few things you can do to help. Floss your teeth once daily and brush them twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Plaque removal is essentially important to your oral health, but it’s not a safe DIY project.

three beautiful women with beautiful smiles

Why Visit Your Dentist at Least Twice a Year?

Regular visits to San Pablo Dental Care can help manage plaque and tartar buildup so that some problems are prevented before they get the chance to start. Scheduling a teeth cleaning every six months can keep your teeth pretty and white, but it’s about more than that. Exams with Dr. Kim include an assessment of your overall oral health including your tongue, throat, neck, face, and head. By examining these areas, Dr. Edwin Kim can often detect other ailments or diseases like swelling, redness, diabetes, or cancer. Schedule twice a year dental checkups also helps with accountability. You’ll be more inclined to brush and floss regularly between visits if you know you have a dental exam coming up soon.

Is it time for your routine dental exam?

Call us today to schedule your next exam and stay ahead of plaque and tartar buildup. You can also use our appointment request form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim. Let us help you keep your healthy smile!


What is the Difference Between Removable Partial Dentures and Full Dentures?

If you are missing all or some of your natural teeth, you may be considering partial or complete dentures. Either of them is a good option for tooth replacement. Dentures are an affordable option for replacing teeth and they have a long history of success. It’s a personal decision and dentures are customized specifically for each patient. Dr. Edwin Kim can help you decide which option is best for you.

Benefits of Full Dentures vs Partial Dentures

Dentures are basically prosthetic teeth that are custom-made for each individual. There are a lot of options including full dentures, partial dentures, flexible partials, and dental implant-supported dentures. Your San Pablo dentist can help you with the process of choosing what’s best for you, but it’s good to be aware of your options.

Benefits of Full Dentures

For those with no teeth or very few salvageable teeth, full dentures are usually recommended. Full dentures help restore your oral health and fill out your face. Facial features tend to appear sunken when natural teeth are removed or gone. This improves your appearance and helps you look younger and healthier. Full dentures are also great for restoring your ability to eat a wide variety of foods which helps improve your overall health.

Benefits of Partial Dentures

Partials are used to replace a single tooth or a few missing teeth. They are less expensive than full dentures. Partials help restore your mouth’s aesthetic appearance and fill in gaps in your smile. Talk to Dr. Kim about same-day dentures. Having partial dentures helps protect the health of remaining natural teeth. Prosthetic teeth help hold natural teeth in place and keep them from weakening or shifting. They also help prevent overuse of one side of the mouth which can cause wear and damage over time.

dentures in the process of being made

Are there alternatives to dentures?

A dental professional at San Pablo Dental Care may recommend dental implants, a dental bridge, or overdentures as an alternative to conventional dentures. Dr. Edwin Kim can examine your gums and explain alternatives so you can make the best decision.

  • Dental Implants – Dental implants are a long-term, durable option. They are surgically implanted so they look and feel more like your natural teeth.
  • Dental Bridges – A dental bridge consists of a prosthetic tooth held in place by crowns or implants on either side.
  • Overdentures – When someone has lost all or most of their teeth, overdentures may be a good option. Conventional dentures are held in place with adhesive, while overdentures are held in place by remaining teeth or implants. This makes them more secure and stable. They won’t move during talking and chewing and help prevent bone loss in the jawbone.

Will Dentures Make Me Look Different?

In short, dentures may make you look different by changing the shape of your face. But if you had missing teeth or had ill-fitting dentures before visiting your San Pablo, CA dentist, your looks may just change for the better. A new set of dentures may have a dramatic change in your appearance. They will keep your facial muscles from sagging and prevent a sunken appearance often caused by missing teeth. When your dentures fit well, your face will be proportioned just right. You may look more youthful and healthier.

Considering Partial Dentures

No matter how many missing teeth you have, the gaps left behind can cause issues. Even losing a single tooth can affect your appearance and your mouth’s functionality. Partial dentures are a cost-effective option if you need to fill a gap. Using partials quickly restores your smile and your chewing ability. They also keep your remaining natural teeth from sliding into the gap left behind. Keeping your natural teeth in place increases your chances of keeping them healthy. Dental implants can be used to support partial dentures too.

How long does it take to get dentures?

Most of the time, you can have immediate dentures placed after your teeth are extracted. You’ll get these the same day your teeth have been pulled. These immediate dentures are just temporary tooth replacements. You’ll be able to wear them until your new dentures arrive. Prior to your tooth extractions, Dr.Kim will make impressions of your mouth and gums. It can take a few weeks to get your regular dentures. They may need to be fitted and refitted a few times as your gums change shape and adjust to the lack of teeth. Partial dentures don’t take as long to make, and you don’t have to wait as long for the gums to heal before they are placed.

Contact Us

If you have questions about partial or full dentures or tooth extractions, call us to schedule a consultation. Dr. Kim will be happy to answer all of your questions and help you decide which tooth replacement option is right for you.

What Methods are Used in Sedation Dentistry?

Many people are scared to go to the dentist and the idea of undergoing a dental procedure terrifies them. Sedation dentistry is for people who deal with dental anxiety. There are different types of sedation available at San Pablo Dentistry. Our professional care team can help you choose the one that is right for you.

What is sedation dentistry?

Dental sedation includes techniques to help calm patients before they have a dental procedure. It can also be used to help patients be more comfortable during long dental procedures. Some people get anxious about getting numbing shots in their gums. Sedation methods can help ease that anxiety. Some sedatives do not put you to sleep for the procedure, they just have a calming effect. You may not even remember the procedure once it is over, even though you were awake.

Who is a good candidate for sedation at the dentist?

dental examThere are a few reasons you may be a good candidate for sedation while at the dentist’s office. Here are six reasons it might be a good option for you.

  • Dental visits make you anxious or extremely nervous.
  • Past traumatic dental experiences.
  • You are undergoing extensive dental work.
  • Your teeth are extremely sensitive.
  • You have a hard time being still.
  • Your gag reflex is stronger than normal.

Common Types of Sedation

There are three main ways a dentist may sedate you to calm anxiety during dental procedures.

  • Nitrous Oxide. You may have heard this referred to as laughing gas. This method has a mild sedative effect. It helps you relax but does not put you to sleep. A mask is worn so you can easily breathe in the gas. It only takes a few seconds for the gas to begin working. The effects will wear off quickly as soon as the gas is removed. You will be able to drive yourself home afterward.
  • Oral Sedation. Some patients are given medication to be taken by mouth. Each person’s situation is different, and Dr. Kim or Dr. Lee will determine the appropriate dosage. You may be given one pill to take before going in for the dental procedure. Some patients are given one dose the night before and another dose the morning before the procedure. Even though you should remain awake during the procedure, you won’t remember much of it afterward. The medication can make you groggy for a few hours, but it should wear off within 24 hours. You will need someone to drive you home.
  • IV Sedation. During conscious sedation or IV sedation, you will remain conscious during procedures, but you’ll be totally relaxed. You won’t experience pain, and you will not remember the procedure afterward.

Can any dentist perform sedation?

Oral sedation and nitrous oxide can be given by most dentists. However, to administer IV sedation or general anesthesia, dentists have to complete a separate program and become accredited to do so. Some dentists opt to use a specialist or anesthesiologist to administer general anesthesia to their patients.

How safe is sedation dentistry?

Dental sedation is safe for most people. Your San Pablo dentist will talk with you and take your personal needs into account before recommending a type of sedation. Certain health conditions or current medications will be taken into consideration to determine which is the safest method for you.

What types of sedation do Dr. Kim and Dr. Lee use?

It’s important to us that you feel comfortable during your visit. We offer several forms of sedation to patients including IV sedation. Dr. Kim or Dr. Lee will discuss the most appropriate option for you prior to your procedure.

How much does sedation dentistry cost?

The cost for sedation dentistry will vary based on the type of sedation that is used. You will be made aware of the costs of being sedated prior to your procedure. Be sure to check with your insurance to see if your policy covers it.

Contact Our Offices Today

Do you have more questions for the San Pablo dental team? Call us today at (510)722-7810 or fill out our online contact request form to request an appointment. Be sure to ask Dr. Lee or Dr. Kim which method of sedation is right for you.

How can cosmetic dentistry at San Pablo give you a smile makeover?

Thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry your East Bay area dentist, a smile makeover is easy to get. Dr. Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim focus on enhancing your smile. At the same time, they preserve those qualities that make it uniquely yours. There are many different types of cosmetic procedures designed to enhance your smile. Here are some popular cosmetic dentistry treatment options that can help you get the beautiful, natural smile you are looking for.

Problems Cosmetic Dentistry in San Pablo can Correct

Many times, patients reach out to Dr. Edwin Kim or Dr. Lee because they are not satisfied with their smile. They are self-conscious and worried that a gap, discoloration, or a missing tooth are too noticeable by others. Cosmetic dentistry can provide smile makeovers by addressing several dental problems including:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Yellowed, stained or discolored teeth·
  • Gaps between teeth

5 Cosmetic Procedures Used by Your San Pablo Dentist for A Smile Makeover

Smile Makeovers using Invisalign

These clear aligners are a comfortable alternative to traditional metal braces. Invisalign aligners are specially engineered to move teeth predictably and comfortably. They are easy to use and removable so you can continue your daily oral care routine. Your San Pablo dentists often use Invisalign clear aligners to straighten all types of teeth enhancing smiles for patients of all ages.

Simple and Fast Smile Makeovers with Teeth Whitening

If you want affordable and fast, teeth whitening is the way to go. Your teeth can become stained from the foods and drinks you consume each day. If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, or sodas, or if you smoke, your teeth may become discolored. Professional teeth whitening at your East Bay area dentist help remove stains and gives you a whiter, shinier smile.

Porcelain Veneers to Improve Your Smile

A porcelain veneer is a thin, tooth-colored shell that is placed over the front of your teeth. They are beneficial for hiding flaws and can help change your teeth’s appearance drastically. Dr. Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim use them to change the color, shape, size, length, and alignment of teeth.

Get a Smile Makeover with Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding is a special resin that is applied to teeth. It’s used to fix chips, whiten stains, and change the shape of your teeth. It’s a relatively inexpensive cosmetic procedure that can hide flaws and give you a new smile you can be proud of. The resin is colored so it matches your other teeth and gives you a flawless smile.

A Smile Makeover Using Dental Crowns

Your San Pablo dentist may recommend a dental crown to help restore a tooth’s strength, shape, appearance, and function. Sometimes, crowns are also called caps. This is because they are sort of like a cap that is placed over an existing tooth. Dental crowns are used for severely stained teeth, to support a heavily-filled tooth, or to strengthen a tooth that recently had a root canal treatment.

Ready for a Smile Makeover?

Now that you know the types of cosmetic treatments that can help you achieve a smile makeover, it’s time to call your East Bay area dentist. Contact us to learn more about cosmetic procedures and which ones can help you achieve the dazzling smile you’ve always wanted. Dr. Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim work with you individually to help you get a smile you can be proud of.

What are Some TMJ Treatments and Remedies to Relieve Jaw Pain?

As many as 12% of people in the United States experience chronic jaw pain at some point in their lives. For many of these people, the culprit is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Stiffness, clicking and persistent pain are all hallmarks of TMJ, and they’re not easy to ignore—nor should you! It’s always important to speak with an Eastbay area dentist as soon as you notice jaw pain, before it gets worse.

Dr. Jacqueline Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim are experts when it comes to assessing and treating San Pablo patients for TMJ, and can help each individual person explore options to alleviate their pain. But there’s another side to TMJ treatments that happens outside of the dentist’s office. Individuals need to take at-home care into their own hands (with dentist guidance). Here’s a look at some of the best at home treatments and remedies to relieve TMJ-related jaw pain.

Jaw exercises to prevent stiffness, soreness

There are many different jaw exercises you can practice to increase mobility, strengthen muscles and relieve pain. Jaw movements are easy to do and, when practiced on a daily basis, will reduce TMJ pain in the long run.

The easiest jaw exercise involves relaxing the TMJ muscle. All you have to do is place your tongue behind your upper front teeth, then allow your top and bottom jaws to separate. Allowing your bottom jaw to hang will relieve tension and minimize some of your TMJ pain.

Other jaw exercises create resistance to build up strength. One of the most effective strengthening exercises will develop the muscles necessary for chewing food. Place a thumb beneath your chin and apply gentle pressure. Slowly lower the bottom jaw, hold for a few seconds then close again.

These are just two exercises of many, and Dr. Lee and Dr. Jim can recommend a full regimen to help strengthen your jaw. Remember to complete each exercise six to 10 times per set, doing several sets throughout the day.

Mouthguards to protect against grinding

TMJ pain is often triggered when you grind your jaw. A repetitive grinding motion usually occurs as a result of stress and can happen subconsciously. As you go about your day, you might not even realize you’ve been grinding your teeth all this time! It’s a condition called bruxism.

Ask your Eastbay area dentist about getting fitted for a mouthguard. Dentists usually recommend mouthguards for nighttime use because you don’t have control over the jaws while you sleep. A mouthguard provides cushioning between the top and bottom jaws and has the added benefit of protecting the enamel on your teeth, so the repetitive grinding doesn’t cause damage.

Hot-cold therapy for pain relief

While mouthguards are great at preventing TMJ pain, there’s still the matter of alleviating pain that’s already present. A simple method for instant relief at home is alternating between hot and cold compresses.

Start by holding a warm towel along your jaw line. The heat will relax your TMJ muscle and help some of the pain subside. Intermittent sessions with an ice pack will reduce inflammation. Wrap the ice in a clean, dry cloth and press it gently against your jaw. Never put ice directly onto the skin—this can lead to frostbite and skin damage.

Apply ice packs for a maximum of 15 minutes per hour. Any longer than that can actually make inflammation worse because blood vessels widen to counteract the prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. This therapy is great for when you’re lounging at home, watching TV or scrolling.

Avoid triggering TMJ pain

The best way to treat TMJ pain is by doing what you can to avoid it. Think about what triggers the pain and limit those activities. Large jaw movements like singing can aggravate the TMJ muscle, so consider other activities you enjoy just as much that won’t cause you pain. Let your dentist know if routine cleanings trigger discomfort so they can tailor their methods accordingly.

Habits like biting your nails or lower lip can also contribute to TMJ pain. Adopt healthier outlets for expressing stress or anxiety, so you’re not unnecessarily making your condition worse. If you’re overwhelmed with stress, relaxation techniques can minimize the urge to bite your nails or lip, and alleviate TMJ pain in the long run—not to mention bruxism, if you suffer from it.

Follow up with a San Pablo Dentist

Before you start any at-home TMJ treatments, make sure you’re consulting with an Eastbay area dentist about your pain. Dr. Edwin Kim and Dr. Lee at San Pablo Dental Care will diagnose your jaw pain as TMJ and help you establish a treatment regimen for coping at home. In many cases, TMJ can fade with proper and persistent treatment. Don’t live with chronic jaw pain—learn how you can do something about it, right in your own home!

Which is better – Dental Crowns or Dental Bridges?

Dental crowns & bridges are both tooth replacement options for someone missing one or more teeth. Both dental crowns and bridges use prosthetic devices to fill in the gap caused by missing teeth. They help restore a more natural smile. Dr. Edwin Kim and Dr. Lee use dental crowns for damaged or fractured teeth and a bridge for teeth that are totally missing.

Dental Crowns at Your East Bay Area Dentist

A dental crown is made of ceramic or porcelain and basically functions as a fake tooth. Crowns are custom-made based on the needed restoration and the patient’s preference. The color and texture of dental crowns are matched to the existing teeth.

Most of the time, San Pablo dentists prefer using a crown for chipped, broken, or fractured teeth. The existing damaged tooth is filed down and reshaped, so it is smaller in size. Any tooth decay on the surface of the tooth is removed. The tooth’s structure is restored so it will be able to support the crown. Then, the crown is cemented into position over the surface of the tooth. A dental crown is often called a cap as it fits over the top of the tooth and restores its function and appearance.

Dental Bridges at Your San Pablo Dentist

Dental bridges are used for treating missing teeth. The bridge is comprised of false teeth fixed between two crowns. The crowns and false teeth are placed on a metal prosthetic appliance. The dental crowns fit on two natural teeth with the prosthetic teeth fitting in between. Once the dental crowns & bridges are placed into position, the appliance functions like natural teeth.

Which is better, dental crowns or bridges?

If you are uncertain which is best for you, Dr. Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim can make professional recommendations. They have the experience and expertise to determine which is the better option based on your dental health and circumstances. Generally, your East Bay area dentist will recommend dental bridges if you lose one or more natural teeth. A dental crown is usually recommended for one of these situations:

  • Restore a fractured or cracked tooth
  • Replace a large filling
  • Cover an implant
  • Strengthen a tooth after a root canal

Are there any benefits to dental crowns & bridges?

Any restoration offers the benefit of restoring your mouth’s natural function and helping you maintain good oral health. A fractured tooth will likely require more intense treatment because it will eventually break. Restorations help prevent more serious treatment options. Restorations also help restore your beautiful smile.

How long will crowns and bridges last?

Restorations like dental crowns & bridges will need to be taken care of just like your natural teeth. With proper maintenance like continuing to brush and floss daily, crowns and bridges can last for years. To keep from damaging your restoration, avoid biting down on hard objects. Additionally, you will still need to visit your San Pablo dentists twice a year for routine exams.

Contact Your San Pablo Dentists Dr. Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim

Do you have questions about dental crowns & bridges or wonder which one is right for you? Contact your East Bay area dentist today to discuss which dental restoration is best for you. Call us to schedule your next exam or to discuss any dental concerns. We want to help you keep your great smile!

What is the difference between a dental crown and a dental bridge?

When you are missing one or more teeth, your East Bay area dentist has solutions for you. Tooth replacement options include dentures that are removable but can shift around or even fall out of your mouth. Your San Pablo dental team has other options that are more pleasant and help restore your teeth’s natural function and your beautiful smile. A dental crown or dental bridge are both great tooth replacement options. But how are you supposed to know which one is best for you?

Differences between Dental Crowns & Bridges

Dental bridges are used only for the purpose of replacing missing teeth. They include two crowns on each end of the bridge and prosthetic teeth in between. The crowns on the ends of the bridge are fused to your natural teeth. Crowns on the other hand are used to cap a damaged or decaying tooth. They are also used in conjunction with implants. An implant involves your East Bay area dentist surgically implanting a post in your jaw. The post acts as a root and supports a crown that looks like your natural tooth. Even though the two have differing applications, they serve the same purpose of replacing lost teeth.

How do dental crowns & bridges work?

The purpose of a dental bridge is to replace one or more missing teeth. It is secured in place by anchoring to two existing teeth. A bridge is used to fill in the space the missing teeth used to occupy. Bridges will contain one or more false teeth which are sandwiched between two crowns. Once the two crowns are placed over your existing teeth, they become anchors which keep the bridge from moving.

How do dental crowns work?

A dental crown is often the option chosen by Dr. Jacqueline Lee and Dr. Edwin Kim to help save a badly damaged tooth. Many people refer to a crown as a cap since it fits over the tooth and is cemented into place. Crowns are also part of a dental implant. This tooth replacement treatment secures a post to the jaw. Then, a dental crown is placed securely on the post. This option most resembles a natural tooth in appearance and function.

Which is the better option?

In general, a dental bridge will be the recommendation of Dr. Lee if you are missing a tooth or if you are not a candidate for dentures. A crown is often the recommended treatment option if:

  • Your tooth is damaged or fractured
  • Your tooth has extensive decay
  • Your teeth are yellowed or stained
  • You have a misshapen tooth or if they are misaligned

How long will dental crowns & bridges last?

If you practice good oral hygiene, bridges and crowns can last for the rest of your life. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are essential for keeping crowns and bridges in good condition. Make sure to keep your routine visits with Dr. Lee to ensure your teeth are well cared for and keep your regularly scheduled cleanings. Failing to maintain good oral hygiene can cause tooth or bone loss which can loosen crowns or bridges over time. They can also become loose or damaged by eating or chewing on hard foods or objects.

Contact Your San Pablo Dentist

Dr. Edwin Kim and Dr. Jacqueline Lee have many years in restorative dentistry and can help you decide if dental crowns or bridges are the best option in your situation. Call us today to schedule a visit and an exam.

San Pablo Dental Care

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

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