Los Lunas

A dental crown is a natural-looking, protective cap designed to enhance the health and aesthetics of the smile. Dental crowns play a critical role in dental prosthetics and preserve the integrity of the natural tooth root after invasive dental treatments.

When your dentist suggests a dental crown, three questions may come to mind: (1) Why would I need a dental crown? (2) Which type of dental crown is best? (3) How much will this cost me? In this blog, we answer all three of these questions.

1.   Why would I need a dental crown?

During a first visit, the dentist will evaluate your particular case and suggest potential treatments. Generally, dentists recommend dental crowns if the tooth cannot be restored with a filling but can still be saved from extraction.

An experienced dentist may suggest a dental crown to:

2.   Which type of dental crown is best?

With proper care, crowns can last up to 15 to 30 years. Contemporary crowns are crafted from many materials, but the main types of crowns are:

1.      Ceramic: All-porcelain crowns are the most popular type of crown used because they are durable, biocompatible, and most natural-looking. This type of restoration is strong but is not ideal for patients who suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding).

2.      Metal and gold alloys: Metal-based crowns are strong and ideal for posterior restorations. However, they are not aesthetically pleasing, and some people are allergic to some types of metal.

3.      Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM): PFM crowns have been around for over half a century and are a long-lasting solution. They are more aesthetically pleasing than metal-based restorations but may cause a gray line at the gumline.

At Los Lunas Smiles, we believe that ceramic crowns are the best option in most cases. Porcelain crowns are the most natural-looking because they refract natural light like enamel. Porcelain can be color-matched to blend in seamlessly with the smile. Also, they are an excellent choice for patients with metal allergies.

3.   How much does a dental crown cost?

If you need a crown, it’s natural to start considering the costs. The cost will vary depending on the type of material used, and the preparation required. For example, if a crown requires minimal planning and groundwork, there shouldn’t be too many additional fees. On the other hand, more extensive prep work (such as a root canal) may double the total price of the crown.

Generally, crowns range from $300 to $3,000 per tooth. Thankfully, most dental insurance plans partially cover the cost of a crown for preventative and restorative treatment, which is typically 50% to an in-network dentist. However, if your crown is for exclusively cosmetic reasons, insurance is not likely to cover it.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Whether you have a dental emergency, need preventative treatment, or want to enhance aesthetics, a dental crown may help improve your smile’s function, health, and appearance. Our wonderful doctors and dental staff offer patients a welcoming, professional environment in Albuquerque and Los Lunas, NM. Please call (505) 865-4341 or message us online to schedule an appointment for dental crowns in Los Lunas.

Excessive grinding and clenching of the teeth is defined as bruxism. Typically, teeth grinding occurs unconsciously at nighttime when a person is asleep. Sleep bruxism affects 9% of the general population. American dentists often recommend mouthguards to children and adults as a treatment to help alleviate symptoms associated with grinding. Mouthguards can also prevent this disorder from getting worse.

Why are teeth grinding problematic?

While not everyone suffers adverse consequences from teeth grinding, some people experience TMJ disorder and tooth surface loss. This article discusses how teeth grinding can affect oral health, the reasons that put people in jeopardy, and how dentists treat it.

How does bruxism affect your TMJ?

Place your hand on your cheek, directly in front of your ears. Open your mouth. Did you feel a popping or clicking underneath your skin? Popping jaw muscles is one of the first signs of a TMJ disorder. Bruxism is a chief cause of TMJ disorders. TMJ disorder is an all-encompassing term for conditions that negatively affect the temporomandibular joint. This small but active joint connects the jawbone to the skull. When left untreated, an overactive TMJ can cause pain, inflammation, and joint damage.

How does bruxism affect your teeth?


Even though enamel (tooth’s surface) is the hardest substance in the human body, systematic grinding destroys teeth. Dental restorations, such as crowns or veneers, risk erosion due to unwarranted and regular grinding and clenching.


Once grinding corrodes the tooth’s surface, the dentin (inner part of the tooth) is exposed. The dentin quickly wears away, the tooth hallows out, and the dental nerves become vulnerable to sensitivity and damage.  In addition to irreversibly damaging teeth, excessive grinding can transform the face and cause it to appear shorter due to a reduction in tooth height.

4 Common Reasons Why You Could Be at Risk for Bruxism

Bruxism is a serious disorder, and certain risk factors could be at the root of this issue:

1.     Stress and Anxiety: Researchers at Tel Aviv University discovered that nearly half of the adults with social anxiety also grind their teeth.

2.     Sleep Disorders: Obstructive sleep apnea is often a precursor to bruxism. When the tongue and excess tissue block the respiratory pathway, the body’s natural response is to grind the teeth to reopen the airway.

3.     Misaligned Bite: When the bite is uneven or crooked, pressure can be placed on the TMJ. When the jaw spasms, teeth grinding together.

4.    Heredity: Genes predestine jaw and tooth size and shape. If this disorder runs in the family, it’s important to be mindful of this oral health issue.

How can mouthguards treat tooth grinding?

While there are many treatments for this disorder, medical professionals manage bruxism with care because an array of possible factors can instigate it. At any stage of bruxism, a dentist’s first line of defense is typically a night guard (a mouthguard worn at night). Dentists weld customized night guards out of plastic to fit each patient’s unique bite.

Nightguards are comfortable, protective appliances designed to help control overactive jaw muscles by reducing stress. Over time, nightguards can help “de-program” patients with this terrible habit and protect a smile from further damage.

Contact Our Los Lunas Office Today

While bruxism is not life-threatening, untreated symptoms can hinder your quality of life. Dr. Yoon uses conservative methods to treat patients in Los Lunas and Albuquerque, NM who suffer from excessive teeth grinding.

Don’t expect your joint and dental pain to go away on its own. Do something your future self will thank you for. Start your journey to a better quality of life today by calling (505) 865-4341 or messaging us online to schedule treatment for bruxism in Los Lunas, NM.

Are you aware of the eight most common symptoms of cavities? More importantly, are you experiencing any of them? If so, it is wise to see your dentist, as cavities and their symptoms worsen the longer you wait.  

Serving the Los Lunas, NM area, Dr. Yoon and his compassionate team at Los Lunas Smiles care about you and your oral health. We believe in customized treatment and strive to help our patients by utilizing the most conservative procedures possible to restore and preserve natural teeth.

What are cavities?

A cavity begins with harmful bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth and gums. These bacteria produce acid that erodes the enamel on your teeth, causing decay. As the erosion increases in size, it deepens and can spread to the dentin and pulp of the tooth.

This erosion of dental decay is permanent and will not improve or go away.

To regain the health and function of your tooth, you will need restorative treatment. Fillings can restore small to moderate cavities, but large or severe ones may need root canal treatment or tooth extraction. 

What are the 8 symptoms that could indicate cavities?

The symptoms of a cavity can vary depending on the location and severity. The eight most common symptoms include:

Symptom #1: Lingering Toothache

Tooth pain is one of the most complained-about symptoms, and the pain can spread to surrounding tissues and teeth.

The pain can come on without warning or cause, but it can also be related to something you eat or drink. Simple things, such as brushing and flossing, can also cause tooth pain.

Symptom #2: Pain with Biting

Whether or not you have a lingering toothache, pressure may cause a shocking, sharp pain to the tooth and surrounding tissues. This usually occurs with biting down, such as with eating and chewing.

Symptom #3: Sensitivity to Hot, Cold, or Sweets

The dentin of a tooth is more porous than enamel. When a cavity erodes into the dentin, hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks can penetrate the tooth. This stimulates the nerves and cells inside the tooth, causing increased sensitivity that can cause surges of pain.

The sensitivity can be severe and brief, or it may be mild and lingering.

Common culprits for tooth sensitivity include foods and drinks that are sweet or have an extreme temperature, such as hot coffee or ice.

Symptom #4: Tooth Discoloration

As a cavity develops, the decay can cause spots on the surface of the tooth. Over time, the spots get larger and may darken in color. Most commonly, the discoloration is white, brown, or black.

If not taken care of, the discoloration can progress to a hole or pit in your tooth. 

Symptom #5: Hole or Pit in the Tooth

Once harmful bacteria penetrate the enamel, the decay spreads and deepens. Eventually, the bacteria eat away at the tooth, leaving a hole or pit that may be visible to the naked eye. You may also be able to feel it when your tongue touches it. Some, however, may not be easily seen or felt, such as those in crevices or between teeth.

Symptom #6: Swollen or Bleeding Gums

When a cavity is close to the gums, the decay can irritate and inflame the surrounding soft tissues. This inflammation can cause swollen or bleeding gums, especially with flossing or brushing.

Swollen, bleeding gums can also indicate gum disease, also known as gingivitis.

Symptom #7: Bad Breath

Cavities are loaded with harmful bacteria, and these bacteria produce waste, just as all organisms do. This waste can lead to an unpleasant taste and contribute to bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Symptom #8: No Symptoms

You can have a cavity that produces no noticeable symptoms. In fact, most symptoms don’t start until the cavity reaches the dentin.

But just because a cavity isn’t causing you noticeable problems, it doesn’t mean it isn’t harming you. Left untreated, it will progress and spread.

This is why it’s essential to keep your regular dental checkups and cleanings. Your dental hygienist and dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for any signs of dental decay or gum disease. And the earlier oral infection is caught, the easier, cheaper, and quicker it is to fix.

Are you having any symptoms of cavities?

Do you have a discolored, painful, or sensitive tooth? Maybe you have noticed a hole in a tooth or chronic bad breath brushing and flossing can’t fix. Does eating, brushing, or flossing cause pain or bleeding?

Just one of the above symptoms could indicate you have a cavity that needs intervention to keep it from progressing to something more serious.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, if it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen your dentist, you could have a cavity without knowing it.

Contact Us Today

Is it time for your dental exam? If you are in the surrounding Los Lunas, NM area, our friendly, knowledgeable team at Los Lunas Smiles would love to serve you. Call us at 505-865-4341 today to schedule your exam.

If fear of future pain has you avoiding the dentist, we have news you’ll want to hear. The truth is that root canal treatment usually produces less pain than avoiding your dentist does. Many patients actually experience pain relief once the root canal procedure is completed.

At Los Lunas Smiles, our knowledgeable and friendly team, led by Dr. Yoon, understands dental anxiety and fear. That’s why we take every step possible to keep you comfortable before, during, and after treatment. We utilize anesthetics, modern technology, and our special comfort menu to keep your discomfort at a minimum.

So how much pain can you expect? Most patients compare the discomfort to a simple filling. 

How does putting off a root canal cause more pain?

If you have a tooth too damaged, infected, or decayed for a filling, root canal treatment is needed to remove infection and restore the function of your tooth. 

Avoiding treatment allows the infection to spread and go deeper, putting you at risk for an abscess. It can also lead to tooth loss.

Prompt treatment can save you from dental abscess pain, which is much worse than any discomfort caused by treatment. And if you already have abscess pain, removing the damaged and decayed tissue and cleaning out the canal should relieve your pain.

In addition, treatment can preserve your natural tooth. Here at Los Lunas Smiles, we are committed to doing everything we can to save teeth. This is not only healthier for you, but it lets you avoid the cost and inconvenience of tooth extraction and replacement with a dental implant or bridge.  

Enhanced Comfort Measures for Root Canal Treatment

Making you feel comfortable is one of the top priorities for our team at Los Lunas Smiles. This begins with making you feel welcome and heard. We will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and work together to form goals.

If you are anxious or afraid of dental care, let us know. We can discuss options and find solutions to alleviate them. We also offer a unique comfort menu for you to choose from.

Some of the options on our comfort menu include:

When Our Comfort Menu Isn’t Enough

For patients who need more robust comfort measures, we offer sedation dentistry.

Sedation options include:

Also known as laughing gas, you breathe nitrous oxide into your lungs. It produces euphoria and relaxation and can be increased or decreased as desired. Since the effects dissipate quickly, you can drive yourself home.

Taken as a pill at least an hour before your procedure, oral sedation can also produce relaxation and euphoria. However, since the effects can last for hours, you will need a ride home.

Will I have pain after a root canal?

Since treatment thoroughly cleans out the canal, there are no nerves to cause pain in that tooth. However, the treatment can inflame surrounding teeth and tissues, which contain nerves, so you may experience mild to moderate discomfort or tenderness.

Some jaw soreness can also occur from having to keep your mouth open during the procedure.  

If you experience discomfort, ice packs and over-the-counter pain medications should provide you with relief. Good oral home hygiene is also essential to keep your teeth and gums free of harmful bacteria and food debris that can increase pain.

What if my pain is severe?

Pain not relieved with over-the-counter medications and ice packs could indicate something else is going on, such as an infection or tooth fracture.

It is vital to notify your dentist if you experience anything unusual after dental treatment. Symptoms to pay attention to include pain that interferes with your regular life, severe swelling, fever, an uneven bite, or feeling unwell. A follow-up appointment may be necessary to rule out or give attention to any potential complications.  

Do I need root canal treatment?

If you have tooth pain or sensitivity, a discolored tooth, swollen gums, or a chipped, cracked, or loose tooth, you may need a root canal. Prompt treatment is essential to reduce the pain, cost, and inconvenience of more complicated treatment.

Call our caring team at 505-865-4341 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yoon.

Oral infections are never pleasant experiences. They will cause you to have severe toothaches throughout the day and restlessness throughout the night.

If you do not treat oral infections quickly, the virus could enter your bloodstream and spread to your body’s vital organs.

Oral infections usually occur because of tooth damage or decay. Every tooth has something called a pulp chamber. It connects to the blood vessels, tissues, and nerves inside your mouth.

An oral infection occurs when bacteria find their way to the pulp chamber and nerves underneath a tooth.

Do not prolong getting dental treatment if you have a toothache that does not go away. When an infection is accompanied by severe pain and bleeding, it is now a dental emergency.

At that point, you must see the dentist as soon as possible. There are several different types of oral infections you need to consider.

Below are the top six types of oral or dental infections and what you should do to treat them.

1) Gingivitis

Our mouths are filled with bacteria. When people eat sugary or carb-filled foods, the bacteria become attracted to those foods.

Unless you rinse your mouth out afterwards, the sugars will stick to your teeth. This will cause various bacteria and toxins to find their way to your teeth and gums, leading to the formation of gingivitis.

Gingivitis is the beginning of gum disease. When plaque accumulates on your teeth for a long time, the gum tissue around the teeth will become inflamed.

If the inflammation continues untreated, the gums will bleed as you brush them. The good news is you can treat gingivitis and reverse the symptoms before they get worse.

Do not wait too long, or you will develop an irreversible form of gum disease called periodontal disease.

2) Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is what you will want to avoid at all costs. It happens to people who ignore their gingivitis and never go to the dentist.

When the bacteria from your oral infection gets under your gum line and reaches your tissues and bones, then it becomes periodontal disease.

Gum recession is the first sign of periodontal disease. It will cause more of your teeth to get exposed until they finally start to loosen and fall out.

Meanwhile, you will experience a lot of toothaches and pains along the way. There is not much you can do about periodontal disease other than to seek treatments to reduce the pain.

Your dentist will probably suggest extracting the remaining teeth and giving you dentures to replace them.

3) Thrush

Our mouths contain naturally growing bacteria called Candida Albicans. When the bacterial growth becomes too much, it causes a condition called oral thrush.

The symptoms include white and red sores that are quite painful and unattractive. Fortunately, you have nothing to worry about here.

Thrush is a treatable condition that will go away in a short time. You just need to deal with the inconvenience of the symptoms until they dissipate.

Thrush overgrowth can be caused by certain medications, dentures, and dry mouth syndrome. Your dentist can prescribe the necessary treatment for dealing with the condition.

4) Cavities

Cavities are the most common oral infections that people experience. As sugary and carb-filled foods cause tooth decay, small holes form in the teeth.

When bacteria make their way into the holes, they become cavities. The infection will continue to get worse as you consume more sugar each day.

5) Oral Herpes

Oral herpes is a contagious oral infection that spreads from kissing and other forms of personal contact involving the mouth.

The herpes simplex virus causes oral herpes after it gets into your mouth, resulting in an infection of the gums, lips, and mouth.

The symptoms include painful cold sores and blisters in the mouth.

6) Canker Sores

Canker sores are small lesions on the gums and mouth tissues. They are temporary oral infections that occur after eating spicy foods or acidic foods.

Sometimes immune disorders, stress, and hormonal imbalances can cause canker sores too.

They usually go away after 10 to 14 days.

Most dental emergencies occur when they are least expected. And when they do, they can be incredibly stressful as they may endanger your oral health.

If you let a dental emergency linger much longer than you should, it could result in permanent damage.

And by then, the only way to get out of trouble is to opt for a more expensive or serious treatment. Dental issues like missing teeth, toothaches, or even severe pain from a crown should not be treated lightly.

But what are the most common dental emergencies that require immediate attention? Here are six of them, arranged in no particular order:

1.    Toothaches

Toothaches can be caused by such things as clenching or grinding the teeth, cavities, and abscesses. They can even be caused by food that gets caught between your teeth.

At times, a toothache can be so severe that it calls for an urgent appointment with a dentist.

If the toothache's pain is constant and pulses along with your heartbeat, it is time you saw a dental professional.

As you wait to see a dentist, consider rinsing your mouth with warm water. Floss gently to minimize the intense pain or discomfort.

2. Abscess

Most people with abscessed gums do not usually consider it an emergency. But in reality, they are.

An abscess is a painful bacterial infection that manifests itself between the teeth and gums. Leaving it untreated can allow it to spread throughout the arch of the teeth and gums.

Abscesses usually manifest as red, white, yellow, or even as a clear pimple located on the gums. This is an indication that there could be a severe, health-related but underlying condition.

For instance, an abscess may indicate that your teeth or gums are severely infected. This means that extraction or root canal therapy will be required if this condition is not treated as an emergency.

If you have abscessed gums, do not wait around needlessly. Contact a dental professional as soon as you can.

If you are placed on an appointment, make sure you keep practicing excellent dental hygiene. Do not be tempted to pop the abscess, or the consequences could be severe and excruciatingly painful.

However, as you wait for your appointment, consider rinsing your mouth with salt-water. This will draw out some of the bacteria in the abscess. Repeat this entire process several times a day until you can see a dentist.

3.  Broken Tooth

A broken tooth may not be life-threatening, but it can still be extremely painful. However, the degree of pain is primarily dependent on how you broke the tooth.

Although a minor chip may not be considered an emergency, large breaks could be. And if the pain caused by the broken tooth is severe, do not waste time until the following day. Try to see a dental specialist as soon as possible.

4. Partially Dislodged Tooth

A partially dislodged tooth – i.e., knocked loose or moved out of alignment – can be as painful as a completely dislodged one. This is an emergency that requires immediate attention.

Since the tooth is partially dislodged, use a finger to move the loose tooth back into position gently.

But do not force it in any way. When a tooth is dislodged, swelling may develop. Get and use a cold compress on your face to reduce the swelling and help with the pain.

5. A Lost Crown

A lost crown is an emergency that should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. It can be excruciating, and you may not be relieved until you see a dentist.

Before the appointment, consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever if you experience any discomfort.

6. Sores

Most sores in the mouth are not emergencies. But they can still be painful and dangerous to your oral health if not treated.

A virus usually causes sores in the mouth. And if they are so painful that they prevent you from drinking or eating, it is time to see a dentist.

While you wait for the appointment, make sure you do not inflame your gums further. Avoid eating foods that may aggravate the pain.


These are just six of the most common dental emergencies that most people experience from time to time.

They should never be handled lightly and should be attended to on time if you experience any of them.

Have you ever had a sudden toothache? What about an accident that has chipped or broken your tooth? Since these situations are considered emergencies, you need to visit your dentist as soon as possible for treatment. With emergency dentistry, your doctor can see you on short notice to help resolve your issue and get you back to your day-to-day life. At Los Lunas Smiles, in Los Lunas, New Mexico, we offer emergency dentistry to alleviate discomfort and restore your oral health.

When Do I Need Emergency Dentistry?

Every unexpected pain in your mouth is not an emergency, so you need to understand what conditions qualify. If you experience any of the following, you need to seek medical treatment immediately:

In many emergency situations, we can see you the same day to prevent you from waiting longer with painful symptoms. Our medical team is highly trained and experienced in seeing patients on short notice. Even if you’re not sure if you are experiencing an emergency, we encourage you to contact our office, where we can still schedule you for an appointment.

What Treatments Are Available?

When you visit our practice, we offer an array of treatment options depending on your condition. First, our dentist goes over the symptoms you are experiencing and reviews your medical history. We then examine your mouth to locate the source of your dental problem. From there, we can customize a treatment plan specific to your needs.

Root Canal

Some patients might require a root canal to fight an ongoing infection. In these situations, the goal is to try to save a tooth instead of extracting it. To put you at ease and ensure your comfort, we first numb your mouth. The dentist then accesses the pulp inside the tooth to remove the infected tissue. The area is cleaned and sanitized to remove any remaining bacteria and harmful germs. Finally, to strengthen the tooth, a restoration like a crown is placed on top.

Tooth Extractions

If a tooth is too damaged or infected, an extraction might be the only option. Your mouth is first numbed before the dentist uses a specialized tool to remove the damaged tooth. Patients are often surprised at how comfortable the procedure is due to advanced methods and techniques.


When cavities have been left untreated for too long, they can cause serious dental issues. The tooth decay can penetrate deeper into the tooth, which can cause a lot of pain. If you experience a cavity that is painful and making it difficult to eat, emergency dentistry could be the solution. You might need an immediate filling to treat the pain and discomfort of tooth decay. The filling can also prevent further damage to the tooth.

How Do I Prevent Emergency Situations?

While some accidents are unavoidable, individuals can avoid many emergencies by practicing good oral hygiene. A good regimen includes brushing and flossing daily. Patients also need to visit their dentist regularly for check-ups to discover issues early on before they progress. Preventative care is the key to helping keep the teeth and gums healthy and functional.

Schedule a Consultation

If you need emergency dentistry or want to learn more information about the dental services that we offer, please give us a call at 505-865-4341. Patients can also schedule an appointment online.

219 Courthouse Rd SE, Los Lunas, NM 87031
(505) 865-4341
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