General Dentistry San Diego, CA
Your San Diego, CA dentist, Dr. Maricela Murillo, is an expert in protecting your oral health. In addition to providing preventive care, she can also diagnose and treat the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Dr. Murillo can also help improve your self-confidence with functional and cosmetic dental restorations.
At M&M Dental Care, Dr. Murillo offers a variety of general dentistry services to keep your smile healthy and looking its best. Read on to learn more about the most common dental services we offer or call our San Diego, CA office at (619) 582-5380 to schedule your next appointment!
General Dental Services
Dental Exams and Cleanings
Regular checkups are one of the best ways you can maintain your oral health. The American Dental Association recommends an exam and cleaning every six months, although some dental conditions make more frequent visits advisable.
Dr. Murillo will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth thoroughly, looking for indications of tooth decay, damaged fillings, gum disease, oral cancer, and any other oral concerns. X-rays will be taken if necessary to check the health of tooth and bone in hard-to-see locations and below the gum line.
Your hygienist will examine the surface of your teeth and your gum health. This might involve evaluating the depth of gum pockets and gum attachment to the teeth. Special tools will be used to clean the teeth and remove tartar, the hardened plaque, which can’t be removed at home. Your teeth will be polished and flossed, and fluoride might be applied.
A dental exam usually takes 30-60 minutes. After your checkup and cleaning, your dentist and hygienist will give you tips for improving and maintain your oral care.
Dental bonding is a conservative cosmetic treatment, which uses composite resin to repair and restore the tooth surface.
Bonding is commonly used to repair chips and minor cracks, cover stained or discolored enamel, close small gaps between teeth, remodel the contours of teeth, which are undersized, crooked, or misshapen, and rebuild areas where enamel erosion has taken place.
A bridge is a restoration that makes your smile complete again after tooth loss. Bridges use prosthetic teeth to “bridge” the gaps caused by missing teeth. These prosthetic teeth are crafted from metal, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal, and are matched in size, shape, and color to the teeth they’re replacing for a natural appearance. A bridge can replace up to four adjacent teeth but is typically used to replace one or two.
Traditional bridges are fixed in place and are anchored by crowns placed on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap. Bridges can also be attached to dental implants. Because a bridge requires healthy teeth, gums, and bone for a long-lasting and successful restoration, any dental problems will need to be treated beforehand by your San Diego dentist.
When a tooth has suffered structural or cosmetic damage, a dental crown can restore a tooth’s function and appearance. A crown is a custom-made “cap” which covers the entire visible surface of the tooth. Crowns are used to strengthen and protect teeth with extensive decay, breakage, or cracks, restore a tooth after a root canal procedure, cover a discolored or irregularly shaped tooth, serve as an anchor for a dental bridge, or complete a dental implant procedure.
Most crown placements require two appointments: one appointment to prepare the tooth and take an impression for crown fabrication, and one visit to fit and bond the crown to the prepared tooth. Crowns are available in several different materials. You can choose metal, porcelain, or composite resin based on factors such as durability, natural appearance, and cost.
At M&M Dental Care, we also offer same day crowns in-office using CEREC technology. Your crown will be crafted and placed in only one visit!
If you’ve lost some or all of your teeth because of trauma, periodontal infection, or decay, dentures are one option which can offer you a healthier, more attractive smile. Full or partial dentures make it easier to eat, chew, and speak clearly, support the cheeks and lips for a more youthful appearance, prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of place, and restore self-confidence.
Conventional full dentures are created and placed after the gums have healed following any extractions. Immediate dentures are placed directly after extraction, and typically require regular adjustments for fit and comfort. Partial dentures are secured to adjacent teeth, and, unlike bridges, are removable. Implant-supported full and partial dentures are also an option.
When decay is caught early, your San Diego dentist can treat your cavity conservatively by restoring your tooth’s function and appearance with a filling.
For most small to moderate cavities, direct fillings can be bonded to the tooth immediately after removing decay and cleaning and shaping the tooth. Composite resin, dental amalgam, and glass ionomer fillings are typically used for this type of single visit restoration.
An indirect filling restores molars and premolars with larger areas of damage or decay. An inlay fills the tooth surface inside the cusps, while an onlay typically covers the center of the tooth and one or more cusps. Indirect fillings can be made of composite resin, gold, or porcelain, and are created from a mold taken after the tooth is cleaned and prepped. The finished filling is bonded to the tooth at a second visit.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoridated drinking water and over-the-counter fluoride toothpastes and rinses help maintain tooth health. For even greater protection against cavities, your dentist might recommend a professional fluoride treatment.
Fluoride treatments are straightforward and take only a small amount of time. The fluoride is administered as a gel, varnish, rinse, or foam, and applied with a swab, brush, as a mouthwash, or in a tray.
While fluoride treatments are especially important for children, adults can benefit as well. Dexterity issues that can make brushing difficult, receding gums that expose part of the roots, and conditions like dry mouth can leave the teeth more vulnerable to cavities as we age.
Dental implants from your dentist in San Diego, CA are a popular and effective way to replace lost teeth. During the implant procedure, a cylinder or screw, usually made of titanium, is surgically implanted into the jawbone. The implant fuses with the bone over several months. Once the area has healed, an abutment is connected on one end to the inside of the implant. A crown is then securely attached to the other end of the abutment, which sits above the gum line. The result is a tooth which looks and functions just like a natural tooth.
Candidates for implants need healthy bone for the implant to succeed. If there are concerns with bone size or density, a bone graft can be performed first. After three to four months of healing, the jawbone generally has enough size and density to accept an implant.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, protecting them from bacteria and plaque. First, the tooth is cleaned and dried. An etching solution is brushed on the surface to roughen the area slightly, allowing the sealant to adhere more effectively. A thin coat of sealant is then painted on and hardened under a curing light.
Sealants are especially helpful for children when their permanent molars and premolars erupt because the irregular top surfaces of the molars are hard to clean thoroughly. Some children who still have their baby teeth and some adults might benefit from sealants as well. Talk to your San Diego, CA family dentist about the preventative care sealants can provide.
Dentists strive to save teeth, but sometimes extraction is necessary. Teeth might be too damaged to save due to trauma, infection, deep decay, or gum disease. Baby teeth which don’t fall out, wisdom teeth which pressure adjacent teeth, or severely overcrowded teeth might also be best treated with extraction.
Teeth are held in place by periodontal ligaments attached to the tooth socket. After the area is numbed, your dentist will use special tools to carefully loosen the tooth and lift it from the socket. A bone graft might be placed in the socket to protect your bone density before closing the site.
You’ll be given instructions to protect the site from infection and from a painful condition called dry socket. To prevent complications such as bone loss or shifting teeth caused by a missing tooth, you should discuss tooth replacement with your San Diego dentist.
A dental veneer is a thin, durable porcelain shell that is custom-fabricated to cover the front of a tooth. Veneers can restore the appearance of teeth with chips, cracks, and stains, can close small gaps between the teeth, and can reshape misshapen or slightly misaligned teeth. Because they are translucent, veneers closely match natural tooth enamel.
Applying veneers takes from two to three appointments, and, while the cost of veneers is comparable to the cost of crowns, veneers preserve more of the tooth’s underlying structure than crowns do.