At University Dental Group, we perform a wide variety of services to help you get the smile you deserve. Click the links below to learn more about some of the procedures we offer.
Cleanings, Exams & X-rays
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 at University Dental Group 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
Tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become hardened on the teeth; its removal requires scaling
Surface stains from teeth through polishing
Some patients will require a deep cleaning due to gum disease and past periodontal treatments. Dr. Morales, Dr. Garcia or Dr. Yazback will review your past dental history and identify any issues for which you may need treatment.
Regular examinations, by Dr. Morales, Dr. Garcia or Dr. Yazback, 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
Gum pocket measurement and tracking
X-ray examination to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues
Dental x-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Your Coral Gables dentist can detect issues with x-rays before they become problems, saving you money in the long run by preventing the need for more 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, impacted teeth, and teeth that are still erupting.
Gum Disease Treatment
Scaling and Root Planing is a special type of treatment that goes deeper BELOW the gum line to remove contaminated debris and bacteria, most often performed on patients with active periodontitis.
This seems to be a procedure that causes so much confusion for patients in trying to understand the difference between "just a cleaning" and Scaling and Root Planing, and the need/reason for this procedure.
A professional polishing or prophy removes only the soft sticky plaque and hard crusty calculus that is ABOVE the gum line on the crown of the tooth. Scaling and Root Planing is done to remove soft sticky plaque and hard crusty calculus that is loaded with bacteria, around and BELOW the gum line on root surfaces. It is a method of treating gum disease when pockets formed around the teeth have a measurement of greater than 3mm and there is evidence of bleeding and tissue attachment loss.
Scaling is a procedure that meticulously removes contaminated biofilm, plaque, calculus, microorganisms and toxins from around the gum line down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket, in order to obtain a healing response.
Root planing involves smoothing the root surfaces of your teeth with thin instruments so gum tissue can more firmly reattach to roots that are clean and smooth, to prevent tooth loss and sensitivity problems. This procedure makes it more difficult for plaque, calculus and bacteria to accumulate along these root surfaces.
Because this procedure goes deeper than a regular cleaning, your mouth may be numbed. The cleaning may take one to six visits to complete. Depending on the extent of the disease, you may need one or more quadrants of the mouth to be treated with scaling and root planing.
Reasons for Root Planing
To control the growth of harmful bacteria.
Help the pocket wall reattach firmly to the clean root surface
Prevent further bleeding of the gums from disease
Prevent bone loss
Prevent gum disease related tooth loss
Reduce systemic disease
Crowns & Bridges
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. A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
There are three common types of crowns: all-porcelain (tooth colored), porcelain fused to metal, and gold.
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.
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. Morales, Dr. Garcia or Dr. Yazback will discuss what type of crown would be best for you.
Reasons for Crowns
Broken or fractured teeth
Tooth has had a root canal
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
Dental implants are the closest dental restoration to your original teeth. They are natural-looking and provide the functionality of a normal tooth. Dental Implants require the same maintenance as a normal tooth; brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups. Dental implants can replace missing or severely damaged teeth and can be used to secure restorations like dentures and dental bridges. Patients with dental implants often have greater satisfaction and results than with other types of dental restorations.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants have two primary parts, a small titanium post and a crown. The small titanium post is first implanted into the jawbone. Titanium is used because of its unique compatibility with human tissue.
Unlike other metals, the jawbone will grow naturally around the titanium post and secure it in place. After the post is secure the dental crown or other dental fixture is attached to the post. The titanium post acts similarly to a natural tooth root and the crown provides a natural looking tooth and biting surface. Dental implants can replace a single tooth or many teeth, regardless of whether the tooth loss was caused by disease or injury.
Reasons to Consider Dental Implants
They can replace one or more missing teeth
They are very durable, nearly undetectable, and the closest restoration to real teeth
They help prevent teeth from shifting to fill gaps
They improve bite and chewing ability
They prevent associated jaw joint issues
They reduce the sunken look caused by missing teeth
They can be used to anchor a denture or partial
They improve aesthetic appearance and confidence, especially when smiling
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 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. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth and this may result in a smaller filling than with an amalgam.
In addition, composites are "bonded" or attached with adhesive to the tooth often allowing a more conservative repair. 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.
Root Canal Therapy
A "root canal," or endodontic therapy, is a procedure available to save a tooth that is infected and would otherwise require extraction. There are many reasons that teeth can become infected, including: cavities, previous large fillings, crowns, cracks, trauma and extreme wear.
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (nerve and blood supply), bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with an inert material called gutta percha. After the tooth is healed, getting a crown is recommended, because the tooth will become brittle.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a problematic tooth is the best (and most economical) solution. Extracting, or pulling a tooth, could ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth, as well as causing loss of bone around the extraction site.
While root canal therapy has a high degree of success, it is not 100% guaranteed. It is very important to have a permanent restoration (usually a crown) placed within 30 days of the root canal. If a permanent restoration is not placed, the tooth can fracture or further decay to the point where the root canal must be re-done or, worse, the tooth must be removed.
Reasons for Root Canal Therapy
Decay has reached the tooth's pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
Injury or trauma to the tooth
Extreme wear due to bruxism (grinding)
A tooth extraction is the procedure done to remove a tooth that is damaged beyond repair from its socket in the jawbone. Extractions are also done to remove wisdom teeth that may be impacted or create future problems.
Many extractions can be performed in our Coral Gables office; however, more complicated procedures may be referred to one of our trusted oral surgeons.
Why are teeth extracted?
Severely decayed teeth
Periodontal disease leading to bone loss
Fractured in such a way that it is impossible or impractical to repair
Badly positioned (impacted wisdom teeth)
Non-functional or poorly functional teeth that should be replaced with a bridge, denture or dental implant
Extractions are generally classified as either non-surgical (also known as "simple") or surgical (involving cutting through the gums and tooth). A simple procedure can quickly become a surgical procedure if the tooth fractures or refuses to loosen under pressure. We perform these procedures only after making the extraction site(s) profoundly numb.
If you are experiencing jaw pain or discomfort, the doctors at University Dental Group have experience treating issues that affect the alignment of your jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Dr. Morales, Dr. Garcia or Dr. Yazback will examine your TMJ for irregularities during your comprehensive or periodic exam in order to detect signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
What does the temporomandibular joint do?
The purpose of your TMJ is to allow your mouth to move both up and down and side to side. When it is properly aligned, your teeth meet in their optimal bite position, allowing regular functions such as chewing and speaking to occur properly and without discomfort.
Normal TMJ function is essential not only for chewing and speaking, but for overall comfort in your jaw. When your TMJ is misaligned, you may experience headaches, extreme pain in the jaw, and ear or sinus infections. We can identify and treat these alignment issues so that you do not experience additional concerns associated with TMD.
How is TMD treated?
There are several treatment methods available to treat TMD.
Custom created mouthguards are crafted using a special machine that tracks the movements of your jaw. While you sleep, the mouthguards work at realigning your jaw and over time, they can permanently align your jaw to its optimal position. Full mouth restoration is an option for some patients. Full mouth restoration may be best suited for patients whose TMD cannot be treated with traditional mouthguards, or who have additional cosmetic concerns.
The doctors at University Dental Group have extensive experience in helping to reduce pain and perfect your smile. We will work closely with you to determine the treatment plan that is most ideally suited to your individual needs.
Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are several ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using an at-home teeth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Reasons for Teeth Whitening
Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
Normal wear of outer tooth layer
Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.)
Yellow, brown stained teeth
Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed once a year and more often if you smoke and/or drink coffee, tea or wine.
Aligners are made of clear, strong medical grade plastic that is virtually invisible when worn. Aligners are clear and look similar to tooth-whitening trays, but are custom-made to fit better while moving teeth. Some orthodontists and dentists have referred to them as "contact lenses for teeth."
For years, orthodontists and dentists have used removable appliances for limited treatment. Today, with the application of computer technology and custom manufacturing, Invisalign® treats a broader range of cases with greater precision.
Invisalign® uses 3-D computer imaging technology to depict the complete treatment plan, from the initial position to the final desired position, from which a series of custom-made clear "aligners" are produced. Each "aligner" moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then is replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.
Clear, Removable, and Comfortable
With Invisalign®, you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. Unlike braces, you can eat and drink what you want during treatment, because you can remove the trays. You can also brush and floss normally to maintain good oral hygiene. Because there are no metal brackets or wires to cause mouth irritation, you spend less time in the doctor's chair getting adjustments.
Invisalign® allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan before you start so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.
Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped porcelain that are custom-made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many cosmetic dental conditions for the front teeth.
As with most dental restorations, veneers may someday need replacement; however, they are still very durable and will last many years, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons for Porcelain Veneers
Severely discolored or stained teeth
Teeth that are too small or large
Unwanted or uneven spaces
Worn or chipped teeth
Bonding is a procedure in which 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, ones that can be resolved through this relatively inexpensive means rather than through a more costly dental procedure.
Here's How it Works
The dentist prepares the tooth surface so that the bonding material will adhere. Once that's been applied, the dentist will shape it so that 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.
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.
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.