Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is a progressive disease caused by the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, which then produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it for protection). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control, and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.


Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing every day ensures significantly fewer cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.

Oral Cancer Screening

Each year over 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer. The disease kills more than 8,000 Americans annually. As with many other types of cancer, oral lesions that are detected early offer a better chance for successful treatment, making oral cancer detection one more reason to visit South Coast Dentistry in Aliso Viejo regularly. We take the time to carefully evaluate the oral conditions present in your mouth and throat as well as your neck to screen for any abnormalities. We are able to take biopsies if necessary or to refer you to the appropriate specialist when needed.

The Caries Management Program (CMP)

Many people think having cavities is just a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be. New research and new products offer the possibility of a future without decay. We have a strong commitment to prevention at South Coast Dentistry. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime and we help our patients achieve this through the Caries Management Program, a preventative program designed for each of our patients. It is a systematic approach designed to recognize individual susceptibility, reduce bacteria, and control other factors that cause dental decay. The CMP has been highly effective to minimize the risk of developing caries for our higher-risk patients and has been successful in teaching other patients not at a high risk how to stay that way.

Dental Caries

Dental caries or dental decay is an infectious and transmissible disease that is associated with high levels of bacteria. Streptococcus mutans (SM) and Lactobacillus (secondarily) (LB) are the bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacteria utilize refined sugar and produce acid that destroys enamel and underlying dentin (the outer and inner layers of teeth). This process usually does not elicit sensitivity until it reaches the pulp or nerve of the tooth. At this point of infection, a root canal procedure may be necessary.