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Top 5 Cosmetic Treatments for a Smile Makeover

Cosmetic dental treatments for a new smileAre you looking to change your smile? It’s your defining feature, and the first thing people notice about you. You should never be afraid to show off your pearly whites. From small but impactful changes to a complete smile makeover, we can give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of at Shoreline Dental Studio. There are many options when determining how to improve your smile, and each smile makeover can be tailored to fit your goals. Here are just a few procedures that can transform your smile.

1. Teeth Whitening

Yellow teeth are the most common complaint from our patients. Common foods and drinks like coffee, tea, and berries can stain your teeth. Luckily, there are many effective teeth whitening options for you to choose from. We can supply at-home whitening kits that are custom fitted to your teeth. These are stronger than store-bought whitening kits, and cause less gum irritation.

We also preform in-office whitening treatments, like Zoom! Advanced Whitening. In-office treatments are perfect for instant results, and can whiten your enamel by 8 shades on average.

2. Invisalign Aligners

Invisalign clear aligners are the perfect option for perfect teeth. Who wants to be a brace-face past the age of 12? Invisalign aligners offer a discrete option for straightening your teeth. They are also a great option for making small changes to your teeth that traditional braces often can’t. If you’re plagued by misaligned teeth come in for a consultation.

3. Dental Crowns

Dental crowns can be used to cover damaged or discolored teeth. They are ideal for replacing a large filling, restoring a cracked tooth, or cover a discolored or oddly shaped tooth. Crowns take two appointments: the first to remove the compromised structure and take an impression, and the second is to adhere the crown.

4. Enamel Shaping

If you’re worried about a rough-edged tooth or slight overlap, enamel shaping (or re-contouring) can help. It can smooth rough edges and create a more uniform look. We do this by removing a very small amount of the surface of the enamel for a smoother look.

5. Porcelain Veneers

Sometimes a whitening treatment just won’t do. If you’re looking to completely overhaul the look of your smile, porcelain veneers are the best way to accomplish it. Veneers are a thin layer of porcelain that are custom made to lay on top of your existing tooth to transform the shape and color. Veneers are the perfect cosmetic option for fixing small gaps, and discolored or oddly shaped teeth.

Whatever your smile goals are, Dr. Ritzau and Dr. Livingston are here to help. Visit Shoreline Dental Studio in beautiful San Clemente, California for your comprehensive dental care.

A Perfect Smile is the Perfect Gift

Hey you, hiding in the back row during family pictures! It’s time to reassess your smile opportunities this holiday season! End this year with the gift of a perfect smile. Whether it’s for a family member, or yourself, Invisalign is a great way to transform your teeth and bring in 2016 with a boost of confidence! At Shoreline Dental Studio, we offer Invisalign trained dentistry, ready to help you achieve your New Year goals. One of the great things about the Invisalign treatment is the ability to feel comfortable in clear aligners at any age. Whether you’re getting them for your teenager, or you’ve decided to devote some time for yourself, Invisalign offers a chance to revamp your look without having to put your life on hold.

smile-winterHave you had metal braces before? Don’t relive that metal mouth nightmare!  Invisalign aligners are clear and removable, letting you straighten your teeth without the hassle. From dinner parties to lunch dates, you won’t have to hide your smile while you’re transforming it. With the ease and flexibility of these aligners, you’ll be on a path to straighter teeth in no time.

Still want to take a massive bite into that apple or chew a Starburst from time to time? Because you remove your Invisalign aligners when you eat, there are no food restrictions like there are with traditional braces. This means you can still have your glass of wine, or your cup of morning coffee and still get the a healthy, straightened smile at the same time. The ability to remove the aligners also helps with maintaining proper dental hygiene. You won’t need a water pick to get in between metal crevices, because you can still brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.  

Straightening your teeth also has lasting effects that go beyond just cosmetic appearance. Having straight teeth encourages better dental hygiene, as it eliminates crowded teeth that can make cleaning difficult. It can also fix problems with your bite, which can potentially lead to future dental problems.11086416514_7fa6dea4b7_m

Your treatment length will vary depending on your specific needs. However, a typical adult will normally wear Invisalign braces for about a year. For teens, Invisalign will take around the same amount of time that traditional braces would take. As a patient, you switch out your aligners on a 2 week basis that will gradually transform your smile.

Come in to Shoreline Dental Studio, your local San Clemente dentist team, for a consultation that will get you on the right track to perfecting that smile. We’ll put you at ease by assessing your bite, and mapping out a treatment plan customized to you! Holiday gift or New Year's resolution, a treatment with Invisalign can make a world of difference!

Welcome to Shoreline Dental Studio

IMG_5517For the past few years, we have opened our offices each day with one goal: to provide each of our patients with the one-on-one positive experience they deserve. While this goal has not changed, we are making a few additions to our business that will certainly continue our tradition of enjoyable care. We are pleased to announce our new practice as Shoreline Dental Studio! To ensure we are always available to meet your expectations, we are growing our services by adding caring and skilled team members. You will see their friendly faces around the office, all of which are looking forward to meeting you!

Our expanding team shares one common philosophy - pride in offering patients superior care and utmost customer service. Your oral health is our top priority! We work hard to ensure you are guided throughout each procedure with confidence and comfort, no matter our office size.

At Shoreline Dental, we are all family. As we continue to grow ours, we continue catering to yours. Kristen and staff are not going anywhere anytime soon, and we hope to maintain a caring relationship with each of you for many years to come.

We thank you again for trusting us with your families and dental needs, and we look forward to seeing you at Shoreline Dental Studio for your next appointment!

How Veneers Can Improve Your Smile

Do you smile with your mouth closed to hide your teeth? Don’t be ashamed of your smile. Even unsightly gaps, chips, and discoloration can be fixed with veneers. Dental veneers are thin shells of either porcelain or a composite resin material, which are bonded to the front of your teeth. Veneers are often used to change the size and shape of your teeth, mask discoloration, or to fix chipped, broken, or worn down teeth. Porcelain veneers are usually favored over the resin composite because they look more like natural teeth and are more resistant to stains.


What Happens During the Procedure?

It usually takes three appointments to complete the entire procedure. The first appointment entails diagnosis and treatment planning. Come to this appointment prepared to explain what problems you are trying to fix with veneers and what you want your new smile to look like. Voice your opinion, be specific, and bring examples to show Dr. Ritzau.

Your second appointment prepares your teeth for the veneers. Your teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the thickness of the veneer, and a local anesthetic may be used to numb the area.

For ceramic (porcelain) veneers, a mold is taken of your teeth and sent to a lab. After about one to two weeks, Dr. Ritzau will receive your custom-made veneers from the mold. If you’re uncomfortable with your smile after the buffing process you can request temporary veneers to wear while you wait for your new smile.

The third appointment consists of bonding. Dr. Ritzau will place the veneers on your teeth to confirm they are the right shape and color before permanently cementing them to your teeth. At this point the veneers can be trimmed or shaved to ensure a bright smile that matches your specifications. Your teeth will then be cleaned, polished, and etched in order to create a rough surface for the veneers to adhere to.

Once your teeth are ready for bonding, cement will be applied between your teeth and the veneers. A special light is then used to harden the cement. Dr. Ritzau will then remove any excess cement and evaluate your bite.

What Can You Expect After the Procedure?

Several weeks after the procedure, Dr. Ritzau will schedule a follow up appointment to assess how your gums are reacting to your new additions.

It is important to maintain good oral hygiene after getting veneers; however, there’s no other special care needed. Dr. Ritzau may recommend avoiding foods that could stain the veneers.

Because of the etching done to your teeth, veneers are permanent.  They can last between five and ten years before being replaced, however if small chips or cracks occur they can be repaired.

If you’re interested in dental veneers, or any other cosmetic dental procedure, schedule an appointment with Kristen Ritzau, DDS today!

What You Should Know About Dental Sealants

It seems like everyone has had a few cavities in their life, despite being easily preventable with good oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist, and other preventative measures like dental sealants. Dental sealants have been around since the 1960s, but less than one third of children in the United States actually have sealants on their teeth. Few people know the benefits of a dental sealant, or even what it is. What is a dental sealant?


Dental sealants are a protective layer of plastic resin that is placed over porous teeth in order to prevent cavities. The resin is applied directly to the surface of the tooth to fill in fissures and depressions, usually in the harder-to-clean molars and premolars. The protective coating keeps food and plaque from getting stuck in the fissures and developing cavities.

Who can get dental sealants?

Sealants are usually applied to kids and teenagers (ages six to 14) as soon as their permanent teeth come in in order to prevent decay when it is most likely.  However adults are also candidates for sealants, particularly if their dentist identifies a penchant for tooth decay in the back molars.

Sometimes sealants will also be recommended for children’s baby teeth if decay is threatening early tooth loss. Baby teeth play an important role in the alignment of permanent teeth, and measures should be taken to ensure their proper lifespan.

What happens during the procedure?

  1. Teeth that will be sealed are cleaned thoroughly.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. A solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond.
  4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
  5. Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special light is used to help the sealant harden.

How long does the sealant last and how effective is it?

Dental sealants can last up to 10 years, but should be checked regularly by your dentist to identify chipping or erosion. If problems are detected, the sealant can be reapplied. Sealants can reduce tooth decay in children by more than 70 percent.

Taking a preventative approach to you or your child’s teeth can save time and money in the long run by preventing tooth decay and costly fillings, crowns, caps, or even root canals. This painless procedure can prevent painful ones in the future.

Dental sealants can protect you or your child from cavities, but good oral hygiene and regular dental visits to Dr. Ritzau’s office are important to prevent gum disease and maintain good oral health.

Caring for your Teeth During Pregnancy

Dental health is important at every point in your life, but even more so during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase your risk for various periodontal diseases. Bleeding and tender gums, periodontitis, and oral tumors are common issues during pregnancy, but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Serious gum diseases can cause infections that can be transferred the baby through the bloodstream. One study even links oral diseases to low birth weights and preterm birth. Should any of these dental problems occur it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Before Pregnancy

If planning for a pregnancy, it’s a good idea to take care of all preexisting dental problems before hand since existing problems can become worse during pregnancy.

During Your First Trimester

Frequent morning sickness can weaken the enamel on your teeth. It’s important not to brush your teeth immediately after a bout of sickness, but instead rinse your mouth out with water. Mixing a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water to rinse with is also an easy way to neutralize the acid left behind. If brushing your teeth becomes difficult, try switching to less flavorful toothpaste. Also, opt for a softer brush for sensitive gums.

Pregnancy_and_oral_healthYour first trimester is also the best time to establish a more thorough brushing and flossing routine. In addition to twice daily brushing and daily flossing, try rinsing with an alcohol-free fluoridated mouthwash. This will strengthen enamel and reduce the risk of developing cavities during pregnancy.

Second Trimester

Dental work should be limited to the second trimester. During the first and third trimester the baby will be going through important developmental stages of growth.  It is important when scheduling your appointment to let Dr. Ritzau know you are expecting.

When scheduling a checkup with Dr. Ritzau, be sure to let us know that you’re pregnant and when you’re due. Let us know all the medications and vitamins you’re taking so we can plan your treatment accordingly. Bring a pillow to keep you and the baby comfortable during your appointment, and be sure to keep your legs uncrossed to promote healthy blood flow.

After Pregnancy

Most problems will subside after pregnancy. Oral tumors often disappear and gums return to normal. It’s important, however, to continue to maintain good oral hygiene after pregnancy. Studies show that decay-causing bacteria are often transferred to children through contact with their mother’s saliva.

Protecting your teeth is important during every stage of your life, but even more so during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant schedule an appointment with Kristen Ritzau, DDS today.

Decaying Teeth: The Lifecycle of a Cavity

People often seek out dentists when they start getting tooth pain, but often the cavity has been festering long before pain strikes. In fact, 92 percent of adults ages 20 to 64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. Part of the fear of seeing the dentist comes from the unknown. If you have a cavity, will you need a filling? A root canal? An extraction? Every case is different, but we have outlined the general lifecycle of a cavity so you know what to expect.

The Early Signs of Decay


Tooth decay is caused by the wearing away of enamel – the tooth’s hard surface layer – by acid in the mouth. Acid is either caused by continual consumption of acidic foods and beverages (like soda), or produced by plaque the sticky substance on your teeth that feeds on sugar.

Dull spots may appear on a tooth that can eventually lead to a cavity. At this point a cavity can be prevented with diligent dental care. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and regular dental cleanings can prevent it from becoming a full-blown cavity.

A Developing Cavity

Once the spot becomes a hole, it is officially a cavity. The enamel has either worn away or broken below the surface exposing the dentin underneath. Cavities at this stage usually don’t exhibit painful symptoms and can be difficult to detect on your own. This is why it is important to have regular checkups with the dentist, so that the cavity can be filled before more damage is caused.

Dentin Decay

At this stage, the tooth has eroded the enamel and is starting to erode the dentin underneath. If you start to feel any kind of pain in your tooth it is your tooth’s way of telling you to get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Once the cavity has reached the dentin it will start to decay more rapidly.

A dentist like Dr. Ritzau can still repair the tooth with a filling at this stage, as long as the decay hasn’t gotten past the dentin.

Advanced Tooth Decay

Once the decay has eaten through the dentin the only thing left is the pulp. Exposure of the pulp is extremely painful, and hard to miss. The bacteria in your mouth can infect the pulp, causing the blood vessels and nerves to die. This is very serious and can only be fixed with a root canal.

An Abscess Develops

An abscess occurs when the pulp is infected by the onslaught of bacteria in your mouth. The bone surrounding the tooth can also become infected, and severe pain and swelling are common. An abscess causes serious infections that can prove fatal if they aren’t dealt

with. If you have allowed your teeth to get to this point a root canal or possibly even an extraction will be necessary.

Cavities go through many stages and give many warning signs before progressing to the last stage. Now that you know the stages and what to expect, you can take the necessary steps without fear of the unknown. The best way to prevent cavities is with good oral hygiene and regular visits to Dr. Ritzau’s office.

Get Bridal Ready with Invisalign

Recently engaged? When planning for your walk down the aisle, don’t forget to plan for your smile makeover. Between pictures, seeing old friends, and staring into your partner’s eyes, you’ll be smiling so much on your wedding day that your cheeks will ache! You want to look your best on your wedding day, so use it as an opportunity to fix that narrow gap between your teeth, or the snaggle tooth that didn’t grow in right. Invisalignaligners are the clear alternative to braces, and will help you feel more confident during, and long after your wedding!

Some of the cases Invisalign can treat are:


-       Gapped Teeth

-       Overbite

-       Underbite

-       Open Bite

-       Crowding

-       Crossbite

Kristen Ritzau, DDS will take x-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth to create a digital 3-D image and map out a treatment plan. Then Invisalign creates custom-made clear aligners that fit snugly over your teeth and steadily move them into position. You will wear each set for approximately 2 weeks before switching to a new set.

Invisalign treatment traditionally takes anywhere from 6 to 18 months, often taking less time than traditional braces. Starting your treatment early will allow you to finish treatment before your wedding day. Don’t let a short lead-time keep you from a beautiful smile. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, so you can still wear them on your big day!

There’s also no need to worry about diet restrictions. You can eat what you want with Invisalign aligners. Simply remove the aligners when eating, and put them back in after brushing.

Dental appointments for those with Invisalign are also less frequent than for people with traditional metal braces. You can visit Dr. Ritzau every four to six weeks to check in on your smile progress.

It is never too late to improve your smile, and with Invisalign aligners you can straighten your teeth without disrupting your pre-wedding activities. Wear your aligners to the bridal shower, engagement photos, and bachelorette party without added insecurities.

Take the first step towards a more confident smile by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Ritzau today!

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to educate you on early detection strategies for oral cancer.  Approximately 43,250 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Low public awareness leads to higher mortality rates, since it is usually detected in the later stages. Early detection can prevent the spread of cancer, which would increase the survivability of oral cancer. At the current rate of infection, it kills roughly one person per hour, 24 hours a day. oral-cancer-awarenessOral cancer often occurs on the tongue, gums, floor of the mouth, and tonsils. Oropharyngeal cancer affects the oropharynx, or the throat in the back of the mouth.

Risk Factors

Smoking and tobacco use are the major risk factors of oral cancer. The combination of heavy alcohol consumption with tobacco use makes the development of oral cancer 15 times more likely than those who abstain.

Age is also often considered a risk factor since it occurs most frequently in people over 40, however the fastest growing segment of the population that is being diagnosed with oral cancer are nonsmokers under the age of 50.

Certain strands of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause various types of oral cancer, however, out of 200 strands of HPV, only nine are strongly associated with the risk for cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

The sensitivity of your mouth makes oral cancer difficult to detect in its early stages. Generally, you want to look for white or red patches in your mouth, or a small ulcer similar to a canker sore. If an abrasion in your mouth doesn’t heal after 14 days, it is best to see a dentist for a screening.

Common symptoms of oral cancer or pre-cancerous cells include:

  • A change in the way the teeth fit together
  • A color change in the oral tissues
  • A tiny white or red spot/sore anywhere in the mouth
  • Any sore that bleeds easily or refuses to heal
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Lumps, thickenings, rough spots, or crusty areas
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips

Early Detection is Key

Early discovery of mouth cancer can increase life spans, reduce the number of treatments, and greatly increase quality of life post-diagnosis. That is why we provide oral cancer screenings at Kristen Ritzau, DDS.

We use ViziLite to aid with early detection. Patients rinse their mouth with toluidine blue, and we use a specialized light to identify cancerous or precancerous abnormalities. The dye and light cause abnormal lesions to glow white for easier detection. We then do a scrape test on any abnormal-looking lesions to test for cancerous and precancerous cells.

We certainly aren’t looking to scare you. Although it’s important to be aware of oral cancer, keep in mind that in the U.S. it constituted 2.4% of cancer diagnoses in 2009.

Early detection can decrease the mortality rate of oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ritzau today and ask for an oral cancer screening.

Calming Dental Anxiety with Sedation Dentistry

People find a variety of reasons not to visit the dentist, and dental anxiety is usually at the top of the list. According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, about 30 percent of the population avoids going to the dentist because of this fear. For about 4 percent of the population, this fear is immobilizing, and is classified as dental phobia. Whether it’s fear of the needle, the smells, or the overall pain of dental procedures, this fear keeps people from seeking the dental care they truly need. This is why we, at Kristen Ritzau, DDS offer sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry
Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is a way of working on your teeth without the anxiety that comes with it. There are three types of sedation commonly used today:

  • Inhalation sedation is usually in the form of laughing gas, and is usually administered by a small hood placed over your nose. The gas produces some tingling, and an overall sense of well-being, while also increasing your pain tolerance. You still receive a local anesthetic for most procedures.
  • Oral sedation is the most commonly used sedation for dentistry today. It is taken by mouth, so there are no extra needles involved. Although many patients usually receive a local anesthetic as well. The level of sedation is mild, but will put you in a state of constant relaxation. While you usually feel as if you have slept throughout the procedure, you remain conscious enough to respond to commands.
  • Intravenous (IV) sedation is administered directly into the bloodstream for a quicker effect than oral sedation. This is still a moderate sedation, so although you feel as if you were asleep you still respond to external stimuli. With IV sedation the dentist can continuously adjust the flow of medication.

If you choose oral or IV sedation you will need someone you trust to drive you home after the appointment. The sedatives cause extreme relaxation and memory loss, so although it will feel like you were put to sleep, you will be alert during the procedure.

You should consider sedation dentistry if:

  • You have a high level of fear or anxiety when going to the dentist.
  • You have a strong fear of needles.
  • You need extensive dental work.
  • You have a sensitive gag reflex.
  • You have a lower pain threshold.

Sedation dentistry is particularly helpful for when you have a complex or relatively long dental procedure. You can shorten the process by getting it all done in one visit rather than stretching out the work.

Regular cleanings and dental checkups are important to maintaining oral health. If you are plagued by dental anxiety, talk to Kristen Ritzau, DDS about the possibility of getting sedated during dental procedures.