Services

At Central Coast Dental we perform a wide variety of services to help you get the smile you deserve. By leveraging today's advanced techniques and technology, your Aptos dentist Dr. Christensen can restore your beautiful smile to help you maintain your youthful appearance.

Whether you need to get a tooth filled, have crooked teeth, or need a complete smile makeover, we can offer a treatment plan that's right for you.

Preventive

Cleanings & Exams


Dental Cleanings

Professional cleanings performed by a licensed dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist or dentist will:
•  Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.
•  Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indication of gum disease.
•  Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.

Examinations

Regular examinations, by your dentist, help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:
•  Gum disease screening
•  Oral cancer screening
•  Visual tooth decay evaluation
•  Visual gum disease examination
•  Gum pocket measurement and tracking
•  X-ray examination to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues

X-rays (Radiographs)

Dental x-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Dentists can detect issues with x-rays before they become problems saving you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:
•  Internal tooth decay
•  Cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth)
•  Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
•  Impacted teeth
•  Teeth that are still coming in

Sealants


Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.

Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.

Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.

Gum Disease


Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by the bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Warning Signs

•  Gums that bleed easily
•  Red, swollen, tender gums
•  Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•  Persistent bad breath or bad taste
•  Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
•  Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
•  Any change in the fit of partial dentures

There are many factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease, including: smoking, pregnancy and diabetes. It is important to visit Central Coast Dental if you suspect you have gum disease, because the sooner you treat it the better.

Early Stage of Gum Disease: Gingivitis

If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced Gum Disease: Periodontitis

Chronic periodontitis can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone, and may occur in localized areas or in the entire mouth. Periodontal disease cannot be cured, however, we have measures to help slow or stop the progression.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. The treatment methods that our dentists diagnose will depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential for helping to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious.


Restorative

Crowns & Bridges


Dental Crowns

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens the tooth structure, giving the tooth a longer life than it would have if restored by fillings or other types of restorations.

There are three common types of crowns: all-porcelain (tooth colored), porcelain fused to metal, and gold.

All Porcelain

A very aesthetically pleasing crown usually recommended for front teeth only. There is a higher risk of this type of crown fracturing if placed on posterior teeth.

Porcelain Fused to Metal

A metal based crown with porcelain baked to the outside to make it more aesthetically appealing. This type of crown is great for someone who wants a tooth colored crown but still wants durability. There is still a risk of fracturing these types of crowns but usually it is just the outside porcelain that chips off.

Gold

This type of crown is very durable! They are recommended for back teeth where the crown cannot be seen, and they are often recommended for people who grind or clinch their teeth. Gold crowns are most like your natural teeth and your tissue adapts best to this material. Also, less actual tooth structure needs to be removed for this type of crown.

If a crown is needed, Dr. Christensen will discuss what type of crown would be best for you.

Reasons for Crowns

•  Broken or fractured teeth
•  Cosmetic enhancement
•  Decayed teeth
•  Fractured fillings
•  Large fillings
•  Tooth has had a root canal

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. During your first appointment, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Then he or she will take impressions that will be sent to the lab to create your custom crown. You will wear a temporary crown for approximately two weeks while your custom crown is being fabricated.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your crown. As always, proper oral hygiene will help extend the life of your new crown.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. We will discuss the best options for your particular case. The "traditional bridge" is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached on either side of the artificial teeth (pontics), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Bridges are highly durable and will last many years with proper homecare; however, they may need to be replaced or re-cemented due to normal wear.

Reasons for a Fixed Bridge

•  Fill the space of missing teeth
•  Maintain facial shape
•  Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
•  Restore chewing and speaking ability
•  Restore your smile
•  Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance

What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for about two weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, the temporary bridge will be removed, and your new bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented or bonded.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new bridge.

Dental Implants


Dental implants are small titanium posts that will be surgically placed into your jaw bone where you are missing teeth. These implants serve as anchors that act like the root for an artificial tooth. After the implants are placed and the bone has had time to heal, the jaw bone will actually fuse to the implants, making them even stronger than a normal tooth. Once the implants have been allowed to heal, replacement teeth can be secured to your implants.

While it is clear that dental implants can be beneficial in improving the function of your mouth, they have also been shown to benefit the existing bone of the jaw. Dental implants can actually prevent further bone loss.

Types of Artificial Teeth Available

When it comes to dental implants, crowns are usually chosen to replace a single tooth, and each prosthetic will attach to a singular implant. In other cases, a bridge may be used to replace multiple teeth, and it may require several implants to provide adequate support.

Full arch prosthetics could be used to replace all teeth in the lower or upper jaw. With this type of restoration, the total number of the implants used will depend on how much bone is available and other factors. An overdenture may be able to attach to a bar, while a fixed prosthetic will be permanent and can only be removed by your dentist.

Dental Implant Candidates

If you are interested in dental implants, it is important to first see if you are a candidate. An evaluation with a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon is essential, and you may need to have a special radiograph taken to further examine your condition. We'll help evaluate your unique, individual situation and explain your options.

The Surgical Procedure

Your dental needs are unique to you, so we offer individualized treatment plans for each patient. In some cases, bone grafting may be needed prior to placement of the implants, especially if there isn't enough bone available to properly support the restoration. If you have enough bone or your bone is reconstructed, the implants will be surgically put into place.

After the titanium posts have been implanted, you'll need to wait at least four months so that the bone can fuse to them. In some cases, the gum tissue may grow over the implants, so a procedure may be needed to uncover them before tooth replacement. Temporary dentures may be available during this time, and after your permanent restorations are put into place, the implant itself will be entirely invisible. In total, the procedure will take 6–8 months, but most patients report minimal disruptions to their daily lives.

Surgical Benefits

In some cases, the implants won't need to be placed under the gum line. If this is your situation, a tiny healing cap can be secured over the top of the implant. These implants won't require another procedure to uncover them, but they will still need the entire four months of healing time prior to placing the artificial teeth. In certain situations, a non-restorable tooth may be removed, and an implant placed right away.

Dental implants are complicated procedures, and they will require the skills and expertise of both your general dentist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Our doctors will perform the actual implantation surgery along with extractions and bone grafting, if needed. Your dentist will be responsible for creating and fitting the permanent teeth as well as making any temporary teeth you might need to wear throughout the healing process.

Type of Anesthesia

Both the surgical implant placement and bone grafting can be performed in the office, and general or local anesthesia will be used to keep you comfortable.

Choosing Dental Implants

The more you learn about dental implants, the more you may realize that these restorations can completely change your life. When you lose multiple teeth, whether this is something you've dealt with for years or it is an entirely new situation, it can be difficult to come to terms with the change. Dental implants can open the door to improved self-confidence, allowing you to restore your old eating and socialization habits without feeling self-conscious or worrying about your traditional dentures slipping out of place.

Caring for Your Implants

After your smile has been restored with dental implants, it is important that you keep up a good oral hygiene routine so that your mouth stays healthy. You'll need to floss and brush daily, and you should also follow up with your dentist for regular examinations and cleaning. With proper care, your implants could possibly last a lifetime, making it especially important that you follow your dentist's orders in order to protect your investment.

Fillings


Fillings are used to restore areas of your tooth affected by decay. Dentists use both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) materials to "fill in" the surface of the tooth after all decay has been removed.

Reasons for Fillings

•  Restoring small to medium sized cavities
•  Restoring a chipped anterior (front) tooth

What does a filling involve?

First, Dr. Christensen will answer any questions you have and will apply anesthetic to the tooth requiring the filling. He will then thoroughly remove the decay that is present and prepare the tooth for either the composite or amalgam (silver alloy) filling.

What are composite fillings?

Composite fillings are tooth-colored to blend in with the remaining natural part of the tooth. The term composite refers to the actual filling material, which is a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium.

Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, composite fillings are "bonded" or attached with adhesive directly to the tooth surface. This often allows for a more conservative repair than traditional fillings with their inability to bond to the tooth structure. Since traditional fillings do not bond to the tooth, amalgam is packed into the tooth, and may loosen over time. Amalgam fillings often require that more tooth structure be removed to create a space that will hold the filling in place.

Composite fillings require that the tooth be kept clean and dry during the entire filling process, and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.

Composite filling material is also commonly used to repair front teeth that have chipped or worn. Where possible, aesthetic bonding of composite material to front teeth is generally much less expensive than veneers or crowns. However, bonding typically does not last as long as veneers or crowns.

If your tooth is sensitive for a week or more it is important to call our office so we can examine the tooth and determine if additional treatment is needed.

Dentures


When the condition of the teeth has deteriorated so far that they can no longer be repaired, removal is the only option. Dentures are a "replacement" option for missing teeth. There are two variations of dentures: partial dentures and full dentures. The difference between the two lies in how many natural teeth remain.

A complete denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base; the denture rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed.

It is important to note that life with an upper and/or lower denture is a major lifestyle change when compared to natural teeth. Dentures impact the type of food you are able to eat, your self-confidence in social situations and even your self-esteem.

Reasons for a Full Denture

•  All teeth missing in the same arch
•  Restore chewing ability
•  Restore a natural looking smile
•  Economical alternative to other procedures

An upper full denture will almost always feel better than a lower full denture. In order to dramatically improve the fit of a lower full denture, we frequently suggest using dental implants as a retentive mechanism. Implants placed in the lower jaw can help anchor the denture and significantly improve comfort. Sometimes, the implants can even be placed in the jaw after a denture has been in use for several years.


Cosmetic

Teeth Whitening


Whitening the teeth is one of the easiest and most noticeable changes that you can make to improve the appearance of your smile. Whitening, or bleaching, is a non-invasive and simple dental treatment that will alter the color of your tooth enamel to make your smile look whiter and brighter.

For many people, dull or stained teeth are the primary concerns that they have about their smile. At-home teeth whitening systems are the most popular method for correcting this problem. However, if you have older fillings, crowns, and other restorations, you need to be aware that these whitening systems will only work to improve the appearance of the natural tooth enamel, so you won't notice any changes on those restorations. It is recommended that you have those restorations replaced after bleaching your teeth so they match the new and improved color of the rest of your smile.

Reasons to Whiten Your Teeth

There are numerous reasons why you might choose to whiten your teeth:
•  Brown or yellow stains due to smoking or your diet
•  Discoloration due to fluorosis (too much fluoride during the development of the teeth)
•  Stains due to certain medications
•  Normal wear of the enamel

The Teeth Whitening Process

If you choose to whiten your teeth with a home whitening system, you will generally need two dental appointments. At your first visit, your dentist will take molds of your teeth to create customized plastic trays to hold the whitening solution.

After your trays have been fabricated, you'll have a second appointment where we'll make sure they fit properly. You'll receive instructions on how to wear the trays for optimal results. In most cases, this will involve wearing them either overnight or twice per day for several weeks.

Caring for Your Whitened Teeth

When whitening your teeth, it is completely normal to experience sensitivity. Fortunately, this discomfort should stop once you have finished your bleaching treatment, but if it doesn't, sensitivity toothpaste can help with the symptoms.

It is important to remember that teeth whitening isn't a permanent procedure, so to get the most out of your results, you should be sure to avoid foods and beverages that could stain your smile, including: wine, tea, soda and coffee. If you are a smoker, you should also consider giving up the habit. Additionally, you will likely need an annual touch-up in order to maintain your beautiful, white smile.

Porcelain Veneers


Tooth veneers are a popular cosmetic dentistry technique for creating a beautiful smile. They consist of thin sections of durable porcelain that are custom made for the unique shape of your teeth. Dental laboratories create the veneers to match the exact color and shape specifications sent in by your dentist, and once completed, they will be bonded onto the front surface of your teeth.

Veneers are often chosen as alternatives to crowns and other restorations, and they can be used to completely alter the shape of your smile and teeth. They are quite durable and can last for several years, allowing you to enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting smile.

Reasons to Choose Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can improve the appearance and function of your smile by correcting a variety of dental issues:
•  Misshapen teeth
•  Crooked teeth
•  Teeth that have been severely stained
•  Yellowed or discolored teeth
•  Teeth that appear too large or small for your smile
•  Gaps or other uneven spaces
•  Teeth that have been chipped, broken, or worn

The Porcelain Veneer Procedure

If you've decided to use porcelain veneers to improve your smile, you'll need to schedule two visits. At your first appointment, your teeth will be prepared via light buffing and surface shaping so the veneer can fit around the tooth. Impressions or molds of your teeth will be taken, and you and your dentist will choose the color of your new restorations.

At your second visit, your teeth will be cleaned with a specialized solution that will help the veneers to bond to the surface of your teeth. Bonding cement will be placed between the veneer and the natural tooth, and your dentist will use a specialized light to help set the bond and harden the cement.

After your appointment, you should continue to see your dentist regularly to check on the health and appearance of your smile. By following a proper dental hygiene routine and visiting your dentist regularly, you'll extend the life of your beautiful new porcelain veneers.

Composite Dental Bonding


Bonding is a procedure where we apply a tooth-colored composite material to a tooth, shape it, allow it to harden and polish it. It can be used in certain situations where a tooth has been damaged or become stained. These are generally minor repairs that can be resolved through this relatively inexpensive means rather than through a more costly dental procedure.

How it Works

The dentist prepares the tooth surface so the bonding material will adhere. Once it has been applied, the dentist will shape it so it has a natural appearance. Then the material is allowed to harden, usually with the help of a light. Finally, the composite is polished and buffed so that the surface is smooth.

Is it right for me?

This is not a process that is recommended if you are a smoker as smoke causes staining. Also, the material is not as durable as porcelain veneers and crowns so it chips more easily; eventually it may require replacing.

However, bonding is a perfectly adequate and more affordable solution to certain dental problems. Dental bonding can take less time to accomplish and may not even require anesthesia. Depending upon the issue, insurance may cover it.

Please don't procrastinate if you have a dental problem but are worried about the time, cost or pain involved. Perhaps dental bonding can offer you a solution. Give us a call so we can discuss options with you.




Sam Christensen, D.D.S.
General Practitioner
7545 Soquel Dr. Ste B
Aptos, CA 95003

Phone: (831) 688-7878

 

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