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Cosmetic Dentistry

CEREC 3D Technology

CEREC 3D Technology

The most advanced form of dentistry is now happens through computer technology. SMILEWORKS is one of the few offices in Southern California to use the CEREC system. CEREC is a sophisticated computer-aided system for producing durable high-quality porcelain restorations.

It is simple to use, fast, and conserves the natural tooth. CEREC is ideal for patients who want an authentic tooth-colored restoration superior to amalgam, gold or even composite. Studies now indicate that CEREC porcelain inserts are the best types of restorations available in the world today. In most cases the CEREC system allows porcelain inserts such as inlays, onlays and even full crowns to be completed in a single session without impressions, temporaries or long waiting periods.


Perfect teeth in 5 easy steps.

  1. Before treatment starts your dentist will inform you about all the benefits of your CEREC porcelain insert.
  2. The first step is to remove the decayed portion of the tooth and/or the existing filling. The CEREC infrared digital camera then takes a three dimensional optical image of your tooth.
  3. The contours of the porcelain insert are designed on the computer screen as you relax and watch your dentist digitally sculpt your tooth on a screen.
  4. The CEREC then uses diamond milling instruments to shape the porcelain insert from a solid block of porcelain. This takes about 8 minutes! All while you wait and watch your porcelain insert being shaped in the milling unit.
  5. After about 8 min later, the porcelain insert gets cemented into your tooth and polished. The finished porcelain restoration looks and feels exactly like natural tooth structure.


Restoring Back Teeth - Crowns, Onlays and Inlays Explained

Posterior crown onlay/inlayThe cusp is the pointed or rounded projection on the chewing surface of the tooth. Molars typically have four cusps as shown by the four purple asterisks in the top image. Bicuspids, also called pre-molars, typically have two cusps as shown by the two blue asterisks in the top image. When we refer to crowns, onlays, and inlays, we are referring to whether we need to restore the cusp of the tooth, and if so, whether it is all of the cusps or some of the cusps. When a tooth has been severely weakened or fractured, we will usually place a crown, which covers all of the cusps. In the photo on the right, the closest tooth requires a crown to made in the lab and the result is shown in the bottom picture.

When a tooth has one or more cusps that are weakened or fractured but other cusps that are still strong, we can elect to do an onlay. An onlay can cover one or more cusps while retaining some of the tooth above the gumline. In the example on the right, the lower left cusp for the middle tooth was determined to be too weak. It was capped, but the remaining three cusps were healthy so they were left untouched. The porcelain restoration was made in the lab and the final result is in the bottom image.

When the cusps of the tooth are all healthy and structurally sound, we can elect to restore the surrounding structure but leave the cusps intact. This is called an inlay as shown by the tooth on the far right. The amalgam restoration needed to be replaced and it was restored with a porcelain inlay that was made in the lab. The final result is shown in the bottom image.

Please see the Crowns Gallery and the Fillings Gallery to view the types of results we can achieve with crowns, inlays, and onlays.

Teeth Whitening

Today's teeth whitening treatments are so easy, convenient and affordable that they've become a regular part of everyone's beauty routine. If you haven't tried one yet, you'll be happy to know that you have plenty of choices. For the fastest, most dramatic results, consider laser teeth whitening. Laser teeth whitening treatments take just an hour and can whiten teeth up to 10 shades. If you're the do-it-yourself type, an at-home teeth whitening kit might be right for you. These professional grade teeth whitening kits produce excellent results over a longer period of time. They can be purchased from your dentist or over-the-counter, but for best results, it's recommended that you always consult with a dentist before trying any over-the-counter teeth whitening system.


Lumineers Porcelain Veneers

Years ago, smile makeovers involved multiple dental treatments over a period of several months. That's no longer the case, thanks to porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are ultra thin shells made of translucent porcelain that can be bonded to your teeth for cosmetic purposes. Extremely versatile and durable, porcelain veneers are an excellent option whether you want a total smile makeover or need to cover a chipped tooth, mask a cracked tooth, or close gaps between your teeth. They require little to no prepping and can often be applied in just one dental visit!

Dental Bonding

Fixing a chipped tooth, cracked tooth or a gap in your teeth is fast, easy and affordable with dental bonding. Dental bonding can also be used to improve the appearance of slightly discolored teeth and to change the shape of teeth, but it is typically recommended only for small cosmetic changes. Unlike other cosmetic treatments, dental bonding can be performed with little to no advance preparation. Dental bonding is also convenient and durable, taking just 30-60 minutes per tooth and lasting from 3-10 years.

Cosmetic Dental Implants

It's almost impossible to feel confident when you smile if you're missing teeth. Cosmetic dental implants can change that. With cosmetic dental implants, you get the best in function and aesthetics. Cosmetic dental implants are securely anchored in the jaw bone for maximum comfort and durability. The replacement tooth, or dental crown, is made of tooth-colored porcelain so that your cosmetic dental implants look, feel and function just like your real teeth!

Cosmetic Dental Bonding

Cosmetic dental bonding is a versatile and affordable way to improve the appearance of chipped teeth, stained teeth and gapped teeth. As one of the most conservative cosmetic dentistry treatments around, cosmetic dental bonding requires little to no prepping and preserves most of the natural tooth structure. And it's fast, too! Dental bonding usually takes just one visit to complete.


How Teeth Are Restored

After diagnosing the problem and devising a treatment plan, the next step to restore a tooth to health is to make you comfortable. We will give you a local anesthetic so that you do not feel any discomfort. After the decay is removed, the tooth is ready to receive either a direct restoration or an indirect restoration.

A direct restoration means that the tooth can likely be restored in one visit and that there is sufficient tooth structure for the filling to go inside of the tooth. Examples of direct restorations are amalgam, which is silver-colored; and composite, which is tooth-colored. There have been more amalgam fillings placed worldwide than any other kind of filling, but tooth-colored fillings are being placed more frequently in recent years because they match the remaining teeth and look like the natural tooth.

An indirect filling means that the restoration is made outside of your mouth, either by a lab or by a milling machine. An indirect filling also needs to be cemented into place. Examples of indirect restorations are crowns, inlays, and onlays. A crown covers the entire tooth, an inlay fits inside the tooth and can replace a wall of the tooth, and an onlay replaces at least one cusp of the tooth.

Most indirect restorations take two or more appointments to complete, with the exception of restorations that are milled by a machine in the office. Cast gold is the most durable indirect restoration material, but porcelain ceramics are gaining in popularity because of their superior esthetic qualities.

Please see our Fillings Gallery to view the types of results we can achieve with these various materials.



Gold fillingA gold restoration is made in the same way as a gold piece of jewelry, using the lost wax technique. A wax pattern is made to fit your tooth and then it is cast, polished, and cemented. Gold restorations are a mixture of gold and other metals such as silver and copper. The addition of these other metals make gold fillings more durable.

You will need at least two visits for a gold restoration. During the first visit, any decay or old filling material is removed, the tooth is prepared to accept a gold restoration, an impression is taken, and a temporary filling is placed.

The impression is then sent to the lab and a stone cast is made, which enables the lab to work on your tooth without your presence. The lab makes a wax pattern, which is then cast into a gold restoration. When you return for your second appointment, the gold restoration is cemented into place.


 • Good resistance to further decay
 • Wears well as - almost the same hardness as enamel
 • Does not fracture under stress
 • Good longevity


 • Expensive
 • Conducts hot and cold
 • Color
 • Multiple visits


Porcelain fillingPorcelain
Porcelain is the most natural looking of the choices we have to restore teeth. It is used either by itself in veneers, inlays, onlays, and crowns, as well as combined with metal for crowns. Porcelain restorations require two visits or they can be milled in the office with a milling machine. After the porcelain is cemented to your tooth, it is very difficult to notice that the tooth had any treatment at all.


 • Color
 • Resistance to surface wear
 • Long lasting
 • Wears well as it holds up to chewing force


 • Expensive
 • Brittle material can fracture
 • Usually requires more than one visit

Dental Bridges

When a tooth has been lost and healthy teeth are located on both sides of the newly missing tooth or teeth, then a fixed bridge is a treatment option. The other options are implants or a partial denture.

The procedure for having a fixed bridge made is essentially the same as having a crown made except that a fixed bridge involves at least two supporting teeth. What can cause confusion is the number of teeth needed for a fixed bridge. To replace one missing tooth requires a three tooth bridge. This is because the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth must be part of the bridge to provide support.

Fixed bridges are typically made from porcelain with a metal sub-structure and require at least two appointments to complete. The first appointment is used to prepare and temporize the teeth. The second appointment is the delivery appointment to adjust and cement the fixed bridge in place. Occasionally a third appointment is needed if the span of the bridge is long and the supporting framework for the bridge needs to be tried in before the porcelain is applied to the framework.

Even though all of the teeth of the bridge are physically connected, the final result makes it look like the teeth are individual and natural.

Please see our Crowns Gallery, which contains some examples of bridges, to see the types of treatment we can provide for you.


Complete or partial dentures can replace your missing teeth and give you the confidence to smile. Dentures can be used to replace teeth that have been lost due to trauma, decay, or gum disease. It is important to replace missing teeth, not only because teeth help with eating food, but because they help support the facial muscles and are critical for speech.

Full Dentures
There are two different types of removable full dentures; immediate and conventional. Immediate dentures are typically made when the patient's existing natural teeth are being removed and the new dentures are delivered the day of the extractions.

Conventional dentures are typically made when existing dentures are being replaced.

Edentulous jaw     

An Edentulous jaw             

 Full denture

The denture being tried in




Partial Denture
A partial denture is a removable dental appliance that replaces multiple missing teeth. It can be attached to the teeth with clasps, which are like small metal "c" clamps that hug nearby teeth, or may be attached to teeth with crowns with precision attachments (hidden clasps). Both types typically have a metal framework and plastic teeth and gum areas. A temporary partial dental may have a plastic base with no metal.


Partially edentulous jaw           

A partially edentulous jaw


Partial denture

The partial about to be tried in


Implant Option
Implants are an option in some cases. There needs to be sufficient bone for an implant. If there is not enough bone present, we may be able to add more bone through grafting. Please read our Implants page and visit our Implants Gallery for more information.

Partial jaw implant       

 Implanted dentures

Instead of having a removable partial, implants are an option in many cases. In the case above, two implants are placed to create an implant bridge.

After the implants are placed and the bone around them is allowed to heal, porcelain teeth are attached to the implants. In this case, a three tooth bridge is placed on top of the two implants. This stays in the mouth and is only removable by a dental professional if maintenance is necessary.