CA Dental Expo and Cosmetic Dentistry

This weekend the LA Convention Center is hosting the California Dental Expo. There are workshops and demonstrations covering general dentistry, better business practices, endodontics (root canals – yikes!) and our favorite topic: Cosmetic Dentistry.Los-Angeles-Convention-center1-e1388796097830

We don’t doubt that this Expo will be informative, entertaining, and energizing (what a venue, after all!). But for those of you who can’t make it out to sunny California this weekend, here’s a mini-presentation on Cosmetic Dentistry: Everything you need to know.

Cosmetic dentistry covers a wide variety of dental procedures and services. It’s not just about looks, either. Most services that are considered cosmetic dentistry are excellent tools to preserve and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. This new and dynamic field in dentistry covers new state-of-the-art techniques for repairing damaged teeth with materials like composite fillings and porcelain veneers. Cosmetic dentistry can also enhance your smile and all your first impressions even if you don’t have any major oral health issues. Cosmetic dentistry covers everything from dental implants to teeth whitening, and can address an area as specific as a single tooth, or give your whole smile a dazzling new make-over.

Composite Bonding

Accidents can result in a chipped or broken tooth. Some people notice discolorations or small spots of decay or unevenness in their smile. In these cases the appearance and integrity of the teeth can be easily and economically restored. Composite bonding uses a composite resin permanently adhered to the surface of the tooth, creating a smooth, uniform surface. The composite is sculpted into shape and hardens under a high-intensity light. The finished tooth will blend in with neighboring teeth naturally and protect any cracks or imperfections from decay.

Dental Implants

Missing teeth or extensive tooth decay can leave large gaps in a mouth. These gaps destabilize the teeth around them, leaving teeth and their roots to shift and misalign. Missing teeth can cause uncomfortable chewing, uneven wear on remaining teeth, slurred speech, and strained jaw issues. When teeth are initially lost, the jaw bone itself is exposed to bacteria that can cause a significant amount of pain and, more importantly, can spread infection to other parts of the body, including the heart. In these situations cosmetic dentistry offers dental implants, a solution that goes far beyond cosmetics to provide stability, structure, and protect against long-term pain and infection. Dental implants are artificial tooth-and-root replacements. They are designed to compensate for any type of tooth loss, from a single tooth to several teeth together. Dental implants are custom-built to match existing teeth and unlike dentures implants are permanent.


Old fillings are usually made of gold or a silver-mercury amalgam that stand out from the natural teeth around them. Depending on where the fillings are in the mouth, they can leave a smile with visible dark spots. Today fillings can be made with porcelain or a composite material. Both porcelain and composite fillings are custom matched to the color of your natural teeth and blend seamlessly into your smile. It’s difficult to overestimate the benefit of a confident smile in social and professional settings.


Actual Client Photo Before and After

Actual Client Photo Before and After

Gone are the days of cumbersome wire braces, with their intrinsic challenges to maintaining oral health. Flossing with old-fashioned braces seemed nearly impossible, and even thorough tooth brushing was a difficult task. Today you don’t have to choose between straight, well-aligned teeth, and oral hygiene. Invisible, custom-formed correctors gently shift teeth into alignment, helping avoid jaw-joint problems, headaches, and other factors that can cause chronic pain down the line. These correctors can even be removed to brush and floss your teeth. Your smile stays bright and fresh while your invisible aligners adjust your teeth without drawing any extra attention to the process.

Porcelain Veneers

Some smaller irregularities in a smile, like uneven gaps between teeth and small cracks or chips, are very effectively treated with veneers. Dental veneers are porcelain laminates attached to the surface of one or more teeth with an adhesive. Veneers can also provide a uniform, natural fix for someone with extensive tooth discoloration. Veneers can help protect small issues, like a chipped tooth, from becoming bigger problems when the compromised enamel exposes the chipped tooth to decay. They are also a quick way to transform your whole smile all at once.

teeth-whiteningTeeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening is a very popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. Over time teeth stain and yellow from food, drinks like coffee, tea, and wine, and other factors like smoking. Professional teeth whitening techniques can uncover a brighter, younger smile almost instantly while keeping teeth and gums healthy and strong. The key to professional teeth whitening is careful, tested application methods and specific light waves that activate the whitening agent and reduce sensitivity.


Cosmetic dentistry can provide people with the smile they have always wanted, or have lost through accidents, age, or health problems. A beautiful smile is something to take pride in. A healthy, natural smile can motivate people to eat more healthy foods, avoid habits that stain teeth, and pay attention to oral indicators of overall health and wellness.

A confident smile also translates into social comfort and professional poise. A simple smile can brighten dark days, open new doors, and warm the heart.


Royal Teeth? Let’s Talk About Crowns

What are Dental Crowns?

Porcelain crowns are caps that cover the surface of a tooth to repair or restore size, shape, and color of a damaged or misshaped tooth. Porcelain crowns serve a variety of uses including narrowing excessive gaps between teeth, repairing broken or decayed teeth, or replacing fractured fillings. While a crown helps strengthen and protect the tooth, it is usually reserved for people whose teeth cannot be restored with fillings, onlays, or other treatments.

Actual Client Photo Before and After

Actual Client Photo Before and After

The Process

A crown typically requires two trips to the dentist. During your first appointment, your dentist will take impressions. The impressions will be used to make your porcelain crown. You will be a given a temporary crown to wear until your crown has been made in the lab.

One popular advantage of porcelain is how closely it resembles natural teeth. Your dentist can match the color of existing teeth and manufacture a custom crown in the lab, shaped and tinted just for you. During your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed and a permanent one placed. Your dentist will perform checks during each visit to ensure an accurate, comfortable fit and bite.

oral_health_smileThe Results

Crowns can fix many dental issues, including damage from severe decay, and give a person’s teeth a more uniform and attractive appearance. Porcelain is the preferred material creating crowns virtually identical to your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are also very durable.

Your dentist will instruct you in how to maintain your crown. You can also visit our FAQ page for tips and techniques for great dental care.


Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year – roll up your sleeves and get out the elbow grease. Time to make your home – and yourself – sparkle and shine again. To that end, let’s talk about your Dental Spring Cleaning.

What can I expect at a normal dental exam and cleaning?Dental Cleaning

A dental exam is nothing to be afraid of. Yes, your dentist will ask you a few questions about yourself, but this is no pop quiz. You’ll hear “how often do you floss?” and other simple queries about your oral care habits. With today’s state-of-the-art, minimally invasive technology like digital x-rays and laser dentistry, patient comfort has never been better! As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to have your teeth examined and cleaned at least twice a year. Prevention is always the best medicine, so consistent visits to your dentist will be much more helpful and pleasant in the long run than avoiding a check-up until you have an emergency. Having regular dental exams is very important to your overall health. During your dental exam, your dentist will look at your teeth and gums, check for cavities, and take x-rays if necessary. X-rays are often necessary to check for tooth decay, bone loss, possible tumors or cysts, plus they allow the dentist to see if your teeth or roots have shifted. If this is your first visit, she will also need to know your medical history. Be sure to talk to your dentist about any medications you may be taking. Your mouth is a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria, and a surprisingly good indicator of overall health. During the exam, your dentist or hygienist will check for plaque on your teeth as well as cavities. If you have fillings or other dental work, your dentist will check to make sure they are in good condition. They will check to make sure there are no loose or broken crowns or fillings. If a problem is found, your dentist will advise you of the best treatment option. During your dental cleaning, your dentist will remove any plaque build-up from each tooth. Although brushing at home is critical in avoiding cavities, the dental office is equipped with special tools that can remove more plaque and tartar. Tartar is hardened plaque that you can’t brush off, from above and below your gum line. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth, and if plaque and subsequent tartar are not removed, you risk tooth loss. Your dentist will also polish your teeth. This helps to remove stains and helps make them look pearly white, giving you the best smile possible. Your dentist will also talk to you about oral hygiene and can recommend the best products for your teeth and health. She may also discuss your diet and eating habits. Proper nutrition is vital to healthy teeth and gums, and to your overall health and wellness. This is a great time to talk to your dentist about any questions or concerns you may have about your teeth and the best way to preserve your smile. You can read more about current dental techniques, good oral practices, and more at: In the San Francisco area? See a local dentist who understands your needs.

Get Great Dental Care at Any Income Level through Covered California and CDA Cares

With the Affordable Care Act rolling out across the state and nation, Healthcare is a Hot Topic right now. Americans who have gone uninsured in the past are starting to address medical concerns that have been deferred for months or even years.

Covered California currently offers pediatric dental care for eligible children of enrollees in the state wide healthcare marketplace. Five providers offer standalone dental programs for children in 2014.

The CDA (California Dental Association) has been lobbying for expanding coverage options for adults, as well. At present, the Covered California board has decided to begin offering dental benefits to adults by 2016, and possibly earlier. Family dental plans are also in the works, which is good news for everyone.

Dental care is an integral part of a whole body wellness plan; a dentist can find subtle clues to your overall health through regular checkups. Systemic health challenges often have corresponding dental implications. Dental care and whole-body health overlap in many ways – preventative dental care can assist broader wellness programs, and vice-versa.

If you don’t currently have dental coverage, and will rely on Covered California or supplemented care, you do have options for immediate attention. In San Francisco local physicians and dentists volunteer at city clinics open to the public. The California Dental Association sponsors “CDA Cares” – free, regional dental clinics offered around the state. The next CDA Cares event is this weekend (Fri and Sat Apr 25 and 26) in Solano County. You can see the patient FAQ page here.

Your smile is a valuable commodity, and your teeth aren’t a renewable resource. Care for what you have, and your mouth will return the favor. If you haven’t been to a dentist for a while, read up on current services, care techniques, and specialty offerings. Then schedule a visit with your local San Francisco Dentist.


San Francisco Dentist with a View

Food in the Bay Area is hands-down spectacular. The plethora of micro-climates around the Bay nurture a flavorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and play host to a number of sustainable and responsible

 farms and ranches. Combine the region’s natural variety with our diverse population, and you can find some of the finest food and culinary combinations from around the world right here at your fingertips.

When you’re visiting San Francisco, your to-do list should mostly be about food. Eat as much as you can from as many places as you can. You can enjoy a new cuisine from a different part of the world every day you’re here – and don’t forget our famous sourdough, Ghiradelli chocolate, and local Dungeness crab! All over the city and the Bay you can find excellent eateries that double as vantage points to view the San Francisco skyline, Angel Island’s outline, the rolling hills of Marin, and of course the Golden Gate. Vistas of city life, vibrant characters, spontaneous art installations, and cable cars are served up as aperitifs in Bay Area restaurants – a feast for the eyes to whet the appetite.

city view

Everyone has a travel horror-story. We can cope with flight delays, bad hotels, and disappointing weather. “At least we’ve got our health,” we’ll say, and salvage what we can of our vacation days. Physical discomfort or injury is a different ballgame – and missing out on eats around the Bay is a travesty! Don’t let oral distress ruin the trip of a lifetime.

What I’m getting at is this: don’t let anything stop you from appreciating Bay Area gastronomy. It is part and parcel of enjoying your time in San Francisco. If you’re here on vacation and you accidentally chip a tooth, or cringe when you should swoon with a frozen mouthful of heaven from Bi-Rite, seek help immediately. Believe it or not, a visit to a San Francisco Dentist can fit right into a happy vacation. Dr. Le will fix you up with a gentle but steady hand, offering unobtrusive treatment for a comforting visit. We’re right downtown -stop in after exploring Chinatown or cruising the shops at Union Square. We even have panoramic views so you won’t miss any time sight-seeing!

Come visit us soon. We look forward to seeing you!

New Year New You: State-of-the-Art Mouth Makeovers using Laser Dentistry

Dental LaserLaser light can transform your whole smile quickly and comfortably. These non-invasive techniques are especially suited for timid dental clients, or people on the go. The use of laser light cuts recovery times and minimizes discomfort by large margins.

Laser dentistry has been incorporated into dental practice since its FDA approval in 1990. This technologically advanced method utilizes an intense, narrow beam of light that is projected by a dental laser. This beam can shape or remove tissue precisely, effectively, and safely. Dental lasers reduce bleeding and post-treatment recovery times. Laser dentistry causes far less pain than traditional techniques, which is a relief for those who are anxious or fearful about dental work.

We offer laser dentistry services at San Francisco Dental Associates to minimize patient recovery times and discomfort. No poking or prodding here – laser light means no sharp incisions or pointy hooks near your mouth.

Lasers deliver energy in the form of light. In surgical dentistry, the laser is used as a tool for cutting or vaporizing tissue. Lasers are also used for fillings and teeth-whitening procedures.
Different dental conditions warrant the use of different types of lasers. Two of the most common, used to treat soft tissue problems, are diode lasers and carbon dioxide lasers. Your dentist will decide which to use after X-rays and a complete examination.

Laser dentistry is a remarkably effective tool for many dental concerns.

BIOPSY: If there is a possibility of cancer, lasers can be used to remove a bit of tissue to examine it. If the patient suffers from lesions or canker sores, lasers are an effective way to treat these as well.

FRENECTOMY: If the tongue is tied, lasers can improve feeding habits and speech ability by removing limiting muscle attachments.

SOFT TISSUE RESHAPING: Lasers are effective for crown lengthening (dissolving soft tissue to expose the natural tooth), removing tissue folds that occur with the denture use or certain medications, and reshaping tissue to create a more attractive smile.

TOOTH DECAY: When a tooth needs a filling, the enamel must be prepared to receive it. Traditionally, a drill was used for this, but now lasers can remove the decay, eliminating any need for anesthesia and drilling. Additionally, lasers can reshape gums, kill bacteria that may exist around a surgical site, harden existing fillings, and expose wisdom teeth.

TEETH WHITENING: Laser dentistry works to activate the whitening process by increasing the efficacy of particle interaction. 
Laser dentistry can make over your entire mouth with minimal impact on your schedule and comfort. During and after treatment, you can expect less pain and bleeding, reduced reliance on anesthesia, quicker regeneration of tissue, less need for sutures or stitches, a smaller risk of bacterial infection, and a faster, more comfortable healing process. What more could you ask for?

If you’d like to know more or make an appointment for any of the services explained about, please contact our offices at

Dental Health and Overall Wellness – A New Outlook for the New Year

Happy New Year!

Whether you celebrated the New Year on Jan 1 or will celebrate the Lunar New Year at the end of this month (or – like me – you celebrate both because 2 parties are better than 1), the new year is a time for reflection, resolution, and renewal. It’s a time to evaluate our routines; to weed out the bad and nourish the good. Set the tone for the year to come with healthy habits, an optimistic outlook, and a great smile.

One of the easiest and best practices to affect your health and wellness is simply to brush your teeth. You might be surprised just how big a role brushing and flossing regularly can play in your overall health, and even in mitigating major system-wide wellness issues like diabetes and heart disease.

You are what you eat. We associate foods we eat with how healthy we are, but more often than not we look overlook the effect our diets and habits have on our mouths. Your mouth is a gateway, a portal between the world around you and the world inside you. There are 600 species of bacteria in your mouth right now. When these bacteria group together in a wet environment they start to create a slick, sticky biofilm we call plaque. The bacteria in plaque eats carbohydrates, transforming sugars, starches, and alcohol into acid that slowly eats away at your teeth. So a poor diet is directly linked to oral health, and vice-versa.

Fewer visits with your dentist can also prevent early detection of other serious ailments that can present signs and symptoms in the mouth first. Your dentist or dental hygienist can detect health problems ranging from oral cancer to systemic health conditions like osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

Your mouth is a gateway to your body and overall health – but your mouth is also a great environment to encourage bacterial growth and infection. Your saliva works to counter the corrosive effects of hungry bacteria, but saliva can only do so much. Your mouth’s only real defense is You. Dental caries, or cavities, is a transmissible disease. Poor dental hygiene can leave you prone to gum disease. These oral infections weaken the immune system in your mouth and can lead to infection in other body systems. In a compromised mouth harmful bacteria have access to the blood stream and the heart – even to the skeletal system if gum disease has weakened the gums protecting the jaw.

Hypertension, Diabetes, and Heart Disease

The link between oral health and general wellness isn’t always causal, but the correlations are strong. When a bacterial infection in the mouth goes unchecked (when we don’t brush), the immune system attacks the infection. This can result in inflammation in the gums and soft tissues in the mouth. Inflammation can spread to other blood vessels in the body, restricting blood flow and complicating blood pressure concerns like hypertension.

Inflammation also seems to affect the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. High blood sugar caused by diabetes feeds bacterial infections in the mouth, making the link between periodontal disease (gum disease) and diabetes a cycle – each ailment feeds the other. Fortunately, this two-way relationship means that improving one problem can help address the other.

The inflammation of blood vessels in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body, as can some of the bacteria that lives in the mouth. Different kinds of plaque live in different parts of the body, but plaque is bacteria grouped and stuck together by a thin skin. Oral Inflammation and bacterial deposits from the mouth can spread through the circulatory system and link oral health to heart disease.

Your mouth is a unique part of you. Unique in the character of your smile and uniquely sensitive to the balance and maintenance of good health. Good oral health and hygiene support wellness throughout your body. For one of the simplest and most cost-effective preventative care plans around, just brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly.

If you’d like to know more, need a San Francisco Dentist, or have specific questions about your smile, contact me at

For a quick review of best practices for your teeth, visit our FAQ page.

You can also check me out on Facebook to see what fun things I’m doing or check for specials on teeth whitening and check-ups!