At Torrey Pines Dental Arts, we provide comprehensive dentistry for each member of the family. Dr. Richard L. Sherman and his team offer numerous treatments to maximize oral health while minimizing dental anxiety, and often use the CAESY® patient education system to keep patients informed about dental health issues and treatment options. With treatment including endodontic care, periodontal therapy, TMJ treatment, and pain-free sedation dentistry, residents of La Jolla, Del Mar, and all of San Diego can have a relaxing dental experience while receiving the treatment they need.

Expert TMJ Treatment

For outstanding TMJ treatment in the La Jolla and Del Mar areas, contact Torrey Pines Dental Arts. Dr. Richard Sherman has years of experience treating this uncomfortable jaw joint problem, having run the TMJ clinic at Dayton Ohio’s Miami Valley Hospital for over 10 years. If you are experiencing jaw joint pain or clicking noises, Dr. Sherman can use numerous treatments to help restore your ability to eat, speak, and chew comfortably.

What is TMJ?

The TMJ (“temporomandibular”) joints on either side of the head control the movement of the mouth. Years of teeth grinding, clenching, and chewing, as well as arthritis, jaw injury, and bite problems, can deteriorate the joint and cause a painful TMJ (or TMD) disorder, characterized by clicking sounds and discomfort when eating, speaking, and chewing, as well as headaches and neck pain.

TMJ Treatment Options

Dr. Richard Sherman is an experienced provider of TMJ treatment and has helped patients, from La Jolla, Del Mar, and nearby areas in San Diego, achieve relief from jaw joint pain. He provides the following TMJ treatment options:

  • Mouth guards. Comfortable mouth guards are worn overnight to prevent clenching and grinding.
  • NTI appliances. The NTI appliance is particularly useful for patients who clench or grind their teeth. The appliance triggers the natural NTI (“nociceptive trigeminal inhibitory”) reflex that keeps us from biting down completely on a hard object. The clear plastic NTI appliance fits over the top front teeth like a sleeve. Since the appliance is slightly larger than the teeth, it contacts the bottom teeth before the mouth fully closes, triggering the NTI reflex and preventing clenching and grinding.
  • Orthotic splints. Orthotic splints, plastic appliances that resemble a mouth guard, are worn day and/or night to treat TMJ pain due to bite misalignment. Rather than realigning all the teeth, the splint helps prevent clenching by gently and gradually repositioning the jaw.
  • Muscle relaxants. For patients who have TMJ problems due to clenching and grinding, Dr. Sherman may prescribe muscle relaxants to help relax the jaw and neck muscles.
  • Stress reduction techniques. Dr. Sherman may also prescribe stress reduction techniques to reduce grinding and clenching.

Pain-Free Sedation Dentistry

In keeping with our commitment to providing relaxing dental treatment, Torrey Pines Dental Arts offers pain-free sedation dentistry for patients from La Jolla and throughout San Diego. Advances in sedation dentistry, or “sleep dentistry,” are revolutionizing many patients’ experience in the dentist’s chair – even those with extreme dental anxiety. Now, patients can get needed dental treatment without fear of pain or discomfort, since sedation dentistry eliminates the need for a needle prick to administer anesthetic. By replacing a needle prick with other means of anesthesia delivery (our practice uses valium and nitrous gas), sedation dentistry allows patients to receive needed dental treatment and enjoy the benefits of anesthesia without fear of pain or discomfort. Many patients have little to no recollection of their procedure. Since the sedative effect may linger for several hours after treatment, patients who undergo treatment using sedation dentistry should have a responsible adult transport them to and from treatment. Our dentists can use sedation dentistry to enhance numerous procedures, including endodontic therapy, tooth extractions, some cosmetic enhancements, restorative treatments, and restoration of dental implants. To learn more about sedation dentistry, contact our cosmetic dentist in La Jolla today.

Endodontic Treatment

Dr. Michael Sherman, our endodontist, performs root canal therapy one day a week at Torrey Pines Dental Arts. Root canal therapy can prolong the use of otherwise healthy teeth whose inner canals are badly decayed, since it can prevent such teeth from having to be extracted. Please visit our endodontics page to learn more about how you may benefit from root canal therapy.

Periodontal Care

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious condition that has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, complications in pregnancy, and other health concerns. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection and corrosion of the gums, teeth, and jawbone caused by bacteria in built-up tartar. The bacteria causes spaces, known as periodontal pockets, to form around the teeth’s roots. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually necessitate extraction of the tooth. If you have red, swollen, or bleeding gums, you may have periodontal disease and should seek treatment immediately. At Torrey Pines Dental Arts, our periodontists work with our hygiene team to provide several periodontal treatments to eliminate tartar, re-build gum tissue, and help prevent future deterioration of the oral tissues. In scaling and root-planing procedures (SRP), scaling removes tartar from below the gum line, while root-planing smoothes the tooth’s root to help prevent future tartar buildup. We also perform surgical pocket reduction treatments to shrink periodontal pockets, as well as regenerative procedures to help replace decayed gum tissue. To learn more about periodontal treatment options at Torrey Pines Dental Arts, contact our office. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Anthony Opilka, our periodontist, working with us so that we can address any periodontal concern that you might have.

Oral Exams

Regular oral exams are excellent preventative tools, since they allow dentists to detect and treat dental problems (such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, and ill-fitting dental appliances) early on before they turn into bigger problems. Since it is recommended that everyone have an oral exam once every six months, contact Torrey Pines Dental Arts to schedule your next exam.

Dental Cleanings

Regular dental cleanings are a very important ingredient of overall dental hygiene. Everyone should have a cleaning at least twice a year. Cleanings remove the plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to tooth decay, and they also help prevent gum disease. Our outstanding team of dental hygienists offer cleanings and periodontal cleanings to help our patients maintain their healthy smiles for a lifetime!

Tooth Extractions

Tooth extraction is a last resort that is sometimes the only option for a tooth that is decayed or broken beyond repair. Severely impacted teeth or those in the advanced stages of gum disease may also need to be pulled. Most extractions in our office are done by our Oral Surgeon, Dr. Mark Breese. Before extraction, Dr. Breese will discuss with you all of your options to help make your experience both pain and anxiety-free. Once the tooth is extracted, Dr. Breese will check in with you in the evening to make sure that your extraction is both pain and anxiety free. The effects of the anesthetic will last for several hours; Dr. Breese often prescribes an additional pain medication to minimize discomfort in the hours and days following the procedure. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how best to let the gums heal. After a tooth extraction, Dr. Sherman can replace the missing tooth with a dental bridge, or refer you back to Dr. Breese to have a dental implant placed.

Children’s Dentistry

Receiving proper dental care on a regular basis is a vital part of a child’s health. At Torrey Pines Dental Arts, we are committed to providing children with the dental care that is so important in protecting their dental health. Sealants and fluoride treatments are two effective ways to protect your child against tooth decay.


Sealants prevent cavity-causing bacteria from getting into the crevices of the back teeth by creating a barrier of protection. The sealant itself is a thin coat of plastic material that is applied to the surface of the child’s back molars. Sealants provide protection against decay for several years, until the sealant needs to be replaced.


As we eat and swallow, vital minerals are washed away from the teeth. Professional-strength fluoride treatments help protect teeth from decay by enhancing the tooth’s natural remineralization process, helping to maintain strong tooth enamel. Fluoride can also inhibit bacteria’s ability to produce acids. Children between the ages of six months and 16 years benefit most from fluoride treatment, since their primary and permanent teeth are growing in during that time. To schedule a fluoride treatment for your child, contact Torrey Pines Dental Arts.