Family Dental Practice Explains Why It’s Important To Floss

Flossing Santa Cruz

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Next to brushing, flossing is the most important thing you can do to protect your teeth. While brushing works to remove biofilm from the teeth – keeping it from hardening into dental plaque – flossing protects the spaces between your teeth. They’re just as important!

As a family dental practice, the team at Landmark Dental Group hears a lot of questions about flossing. It’s easy to get confused about flossing, because there’s a lot of incorrect information out there. Not to worry … let’s get the facts about flossing!

When It Comes to Great Dental Health, Flossing is Worth the Effort

Ideally, you should floss at least once a day – in the evening, after dinner. Of course, many people floss only occasionally. Researchers estimate that about 27% of adults lie about flossing. Of course, the number may be even higher. Up to 33% of Americans never floss at all.

So, what’s the big deal about flossing? It’s more important than you might think!

Flossing protects you from invading bacteria that feed on food particles between teeth. Just like the front and top surfaces of teeth, these hidden surfaces can be subject to decay or cavities. If you don’t floss, bacteria can fester in hard-to-reach areas for days or even weeks at a time.

Flossing has a number of other important benefits:

  • It helps safeguard against inflammation that can damage gums and cause them to recede;
  • It works to promote better blood flow in the gums, which promotes overall dental health;
  • It keeps you more engaged in dental health, so you’ll remember to brush more frequently.

Want to Enjoy the Benefits of Flossing? Try Making it Easier

At our family dental practice, we’ve heard everything you can imagine about why flossing can be difficult, annoying, or boring. Guess what? We understand completely! Flossing can sometimes be inconvenient, and might even cause little aggravations like temporary bleeding of the gums.

Still, flossing even two or three times a week is better than skipping it!

To make flossing into a habit you can stick with, consider these methods:

  • Try dental picks to dislodge larger food particles from between teeth before brushing;
  • Use floss attached to a convenient handle to more easily access difficult-to-reach areas;
  • Try using a water flosser, which uses a gentle jet of water to clean between the teeth;
  • Commit to one minute of uninterrupted flossing each time you finish brushing teeth.

Your Family Dental Practice Can Advise You on Flossing

If you feel uncomfortable with flossing, you’re not alone. Still, the best way to protect your mouth now and in the future is to find the approach to flossing that works for you. At Landmark Dental Group, we can help you reduce discomfort and achieve great results with flossing.

At Landmark Dental Group of Santa Cruz, we work with patients of all ages and needs as a true family dental practice. Don’t wait: Contact us today for more information or to set your appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Ask Your General Dentist For Help With Dry Mouth


dry mouth

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To protect your dental health, it’s essential to have a general dentist you trust. A general dentist isn’t just for cavities and cleanings – you can get help with all sorts of problems. One of the most common concerns we hear about at Landmark Dental Group is a simple, but important one: dry mouth.

Stop Dry Mouth and Protect Your Teeth

Dry mouth might seem like just an inconvenience at fist, but you shouldn’t ignore it. In fact, saliva is a very important part of your overall dental health. Between brushing, saliva inhibits the bacteria that tries to colonize your teeth, eventually forming cavities.

When dry mouth strikes, it means your teeth are much more vulnerable to decay.

Saliva is also essential for maintaining balanced pH in your mouth. For most people, saliva is strongly basic – it neutralizes acid from foods like citrus fruit. This is important, since acid that coats the teeth weakens surface enamel and can cause lasting damage.

What Are The Causes of Dry Mouth?

Many things contribute to dry mouth, but the condition is caused by one main problem: Dysfunction of the saliva glands inside the mouth. There are several different issues that can cause noticeable problems with salivation, including:

  • Nervousness or stress
  • Certain medical conditions and medications
  • Smoking
  • Chemotherapy

A persistent dry, burning sensation in the mouth or back of the throat is often the first sign of dry mouth. Left untreated, it significantly increases the likelihood of getting painful sores in the mouth. Split skin in the corners of the mouth and cracked lips are also common.

As people age, they are more likely to develop dry mouth even if they are otherwise healthy. For this reason, it’s crucial to visit your dentist if you notice your mouth has been consistently dry for a week or more.

Treatment is Essential for Dry Mouth Sufferers

When dry mouth is left untreated, it can cause severe dental problems. Through the help of a general dentist, however, many patients have an opportunity to reverse the condition. Specialized oral rinses and some other medications may help.

Much of the time, dry mouth can be eliminated with the right approach. The first step is to set up an appointment with your dentist! At Landmark Dental Group, we’ve helped people from all over the Santa Cruz area overcome dry mouth.

For expert help in a caring, comfortable environment, contact us today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Our General Dentists Will Ease The Discomfort Of A Tooth Extraction

tooth extraction

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Even if you’ve worked hard all your life to maintain the health of your teeth, you may find you need a tooth extraction. Next to fillings, an extraction is the most common procedure performed by general dentists. At Landmark Dental Group, it’s quick, easy, and safe.

Tooth Extraction: What You Need to Know

Across the profession, most general dentists agree that tooth extraction should be a last resort.

Still, there are many cases where extraction can be for the best. Sometimes, a tooth may be too damaged to stand up to ordinary use. In other cases, it may be severely infected – and a prompt removal may be the safest way to ensure that the problem doesn’t spread.

An extraction might be performed for any of the following reasons:

  • Severe decay which compromises the structural integrity of the teeth;
  • Trauma, such as damage from an accident or from long-term grinding;
  • Gum disease or other infection that causes the tooth to become loose;
  • Ordinary “wear and tear” that occurs as we age.

Indeed, having a tooth extracted doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a serious dental problem. As people are living longer and more active lives, more are finding that they may need to have a tooth extracted now and then. With all that in mind, it’s important the procedure be safe and simple.

Before and After Your Tooth Extraction

Generally speaking, there’s nothing special a patient has to do to prepare for an extraction – simply continue brushing and flossing as you normally would. Before a tooth is removed, general dentists should discuss replacement options that suit your needs.

Dental implants, bridges, and removable partial dentures are all appropriate for replacing one or a few consecutive teeth. X-rays and other diagnostic tools may be needed to determine which option would be the best for you. Then, it’s time for the extraction itself!

Depending on the circumstances, the extraction may take as little as 30 minutes of chair time. Sedation may range from localized oral sedation to conscious IV sedation, the most potent option. If you choose stronger sedation, be sure you have someone’s help or arrangements to get home after the procedure.

A small amount of swelling, and possible bleeding, is normal after extraction. To accelerate healing, avoid smoking and vigorously rinsing your mouth. Instead, rinse three times daily with warm salt water. You can apply a cold cloth to the outside of the mouth as needed to treat swelling.

As always, continuing to brush is important. Simply avoid the surgery site while brushing other teeth.

Landmark Dental Group Makes Extractions Easier

At Landmark Dental in Santa Cruz, our general dentists have performed thousands of tooth extractions on patients of all backgrounds. We can even offer deep sedation to help people with anxiety about going to the dentist. To find out more, call us.

call landmark dental 831-464-1372

Your Local Geriatric Dentists Can Answer Your Questions About Dentures


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Dentures! When most people think about them, they probably imagine complete dentures – the kind that replace all teeth on one or both sides of the mouth. These dentures are taken out at night so they can be placed into a special cleaning fluid that keeps them looking fresh.

Complete dentures can be helpful for people who experienced damage or tooth decay affecting most of their teeth. When many teeth are compromised and there are only a few healthy ones, some relatively healthy teeth might be removed so complete dentures can be used.

All in all, complete dentures are the most frequent choice. However, there are actually two other types of dentures to know about!

Which Dentures Are Right for You? Don’t Forget These Less Common Options

Complete dentures are usually sought after someone experiences severe gum disease. In the later stages of gum disease, the bone that supports the teeth can be weakened and destroyed. Even if individual teeth are undamaged, they should still be removed in favor of complete dentures.

But complete dentures are really only one part of the story.

Less known are implant-supported dentures. As the name suggests, these are supported by a special set of screw-like implants placed right in the jaw bone. The implants effectively anchor the teeth, ensuring they are held steadily in place.

This eliminates some of the common concerns associated with full dentures, since implant-supported ones cannot slip or slide. Since they remain in place within the mouth, they’ll never require adhesive and aren’t subject to being dropped or coming loose while eating. That said, it’s crucial to take care of implant-supported dentures by brushing them – just like other teeth!

Removable partial dentures (RPD) are the final kind of denture. These are great in any situation where tooth loss is confined to one area of the mouth. Partial dentures rely on strong abutment teeth to support them on either side. They can be removed at night for cleaning, but are stable and secure during the day. They are usually used to replace three or more damaged teeth.

Which Dentures are Best for You? Geriatric Dentists are the Expert to Ask

Geriatric dentists are specialists who focus on the changing dental health needs of patients as they age. At Landmark Dental Group, our practice includes a number of geriatric dentists who would be glad to consult with you about how dentures can help you.

Dentures don’t have to be an inconvenience. Today’s modern dentures provide the user with true strength, stability, and a natural-looking appearance. Dentures can be a great option, helping to prevent serious dental complications while allowing you to eat, speak, and smile as you always have. Plus, dentures are often much more affordable than patients expect.

If you’re curious about dentures, you don’t have to wait. Dental discomfort and complications can be alleviated with the right approach. Contact Landmark Dental Group today to book an appointment with one of our geriatric dentists. We look forward to helping you!

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Your Family Dentist Can Help You Decide What Type of Filling or Restoration is Right For You

filling restoration

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Even if you’ve done everything you can to protect your dental health, odds are good you’ll need a filling or two at some point in your life. As we age, tooth enamel can soften and wear away, making cavities more likely with time.

There’s no reason to fret – modern fillings are effective, safe, and natural-looking!

Many adults do have some “not so fond” memories of traditional fillings. Most of these are amalgam-based, giving them their distinctive, silvery appearance. Over time, amalgam fillings have a tendency to discolor. If put in early in life, they often need to be replaced later on.

Today’s fillings are very different. Your family dentist can tell you more.

Composite Resin Provides the Tooth Colored Fillings You’ve Been Waiting For

If you have a tooth you’ve been wondering about getting filled, there’s one rule of thumb: The sooner, the better! With proper care, a small cavity may take a long time to get larger – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present a serious threat to your dental health.

Cavities make it easier for harmful bacteria to infiltrate your teeth. Once they’ve done that, the root system can be infected. An infection might spread through the gums, too, causing serious problems. The best course of action is to get a cavity filled promptly.

Tooth colored fillings have a number of great benefits:

  • They look similar to natural tooth enamel – it’s usually impossible to tell the difference;
  • They can be used in either the front or back of the mouth since they’re resistant to wear;
  • They don’t require much healthy tooth material to be drilled away before filling insertion;
  • They adhere well to tooth enamel and dentin, and require only one visit to be placed.

When Are Other Types of Fillings or Other Restorations a Good Idea?

Patients love tooth colored fillings, but there are also many other options to choose from. We offer porcelain and gold fillings as well as other tooth restoration services: Inlay, onlay, crowns, and much more. The best way to decide which is right in your situation? See your family dentist in person.

Tooth colored fillings are very popular, and they’re great for most situations. For very damaged teeth or those that have had a root canal, however, other options can be preferable. Before you choose, a dental exam is essential. Sometimes, an x-ray might be necessary, too.

Visit Landmark Dental Group to Learn What Filling or Restoration is Best for You

Making confident, informed decisions about your dental health is one of the greatest benefits of having a family dentist. At Landmark Dental Group, we strive to build strong relationships with each one of our patients. We truly understand your needs, so you can get the best care possible.

Even if you haven’t seen a dentist lately, it’s never too late to restore your smile and strengthen your teeth. Take the first step today by contacting Landmark Dental Group for an appointment. We look forward to seeing you smile!

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Did you Know That Painless Root Canal Treatments are Available?

Root Canal Treatment

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A Painless Root Canal Treatment From Your General Dentist

If you hear the term “root canal therapy” and cringe in fear, you aren’t alone. Root canal therapy is considered an extremely painful procedure, but that isn’t the case at all. General dentists can provide painless, effective root canal treatment that stops the pain associated with infection.

The Procedure Eliminates Pain

If you ask most people if they want a root canal treatment, they’ll immediately recoil and say, “no.” This is because the procedure is so painful, right? Wrong. When you have a tooth infection, it can be extremely painful. Even when you aren’t eating or drinking, your tooth may throb consistently and even keep you up at night. Pain medication does little to help. What you may need is a root canal treatment.

When decay or trauma allows bacteria to enter the pulp of the tooth, an infection can occur, leading to swelling, pressure and pain. During a root canal treatment, the infection is removed along with the pulp. You may feel some soreness after the procedure, but it’s not nearly as bad as an actual infection.

Numbing Is Used

A root canal treatment would be extremely painful without local anesthetic, or “Novocain,” which is the injection your dentist gives you before working on your teeth. It completely numbs the area, so you feel nothing.

If you have a small cavity on the surface of your tooth, your dentist doesn’t need to use much “Novocain” because it’s far from the pulp. However, with a root canal treatment, the dentist is treating the pulp, so more “Novocain” may be needed. If you do experience any discomfort during the procedure, tell your dentist and they can give you more anesthetic until you feel nothing.

Sedation Is Available

Even though root canal treatment shouldn’t be painful, it still isn’t the most pleasant experience. The fear that you may suddenly feel a sharp pain and the sensation of the file cleaning out your roots makes the procedure uncomfortable.

Luckily, general dentists can provide different levels of sedation, including inhalation (nitrous oxide), oral and IV conscious. Inhalation is the most basic form of sedation, and you’ll be able to drive yourself home after the procedure, but for oral and IV sedation, you’ll need a ride. All, however, make you more relaxed and make the procedure seem dreamlike and fast, so your anxiety melts away.

Root canal therapy should not be feared. It is an effective way to save an infected tooth. Infected teeth can’t be “cured” any other way, so if you refuse the root canal treatment, expect your tooth to be pulled. For more information about root canal treatments, contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Special Spotlight: Dr. Thomas Young

Dr. Thomas Young

Dr. Thomas Young

National Dentist Day is March 6th – this year and every year!

It’s a great time to think not only about dental health, but about the people who’ve helped you do the important work of protecting your teeth and gums. Although we all perform dental hygiene every day, most of us can’t keep our teeth in peak health alone.

For most, the family dentist is our trusted partner in keeping teeth healthy.

At Landmark Dental Group, we strive to provide patients with a respectful, relaxing, and reliable atmosphere for all their dental needs. We know that when you have a dentist you truly trust, you’re much more likely to get the dental care you need – and the health results you want.

On this National Dentist Day, we’re proud to honor someone who’s been integral to that mission: Dr. Thomas Young, a long-time part of the Landmark Dental Group family.

Dr. Thomas Young Personifies What it Means to Be a Trusted Family Dentist

Dr. Young has been a part of the Landmark Dental Group story since the very beginning. In fact, he was already successful in his practice when Landmark launched. As an independent startup, the Landmark team moved into the office space of Dr. Young, sharing the same space but as two separate practices.

Over the years, Dr. Young has provided invaluable support and guidance to many members of the Landmark Dental Group team. In 2016, Landmark was proud to acquire Dr. Young’s practice and formally welcome him as an associate dentist who works with Dr. Weston and Dr. Tran. Dr. Young has enjoyed the chance to set management duties aside and focus exclusively on dentistry.

Dr. Young’s Accomplished History – Inside the Dental Office and Out

Dr. Young graduated from dental school at the University of Michigan and has practiced for more than 40 years – getting started in 1974. He loves connecting with his patients, building strong relationships with them, and helping them improve their quality of life through dentistry.

He remains very active in both the profession and his community, including advisory roles in a number of dental groups, including the Dientes Community Clinic here in Santa Cruz. He contributes to the Monterey Bay Dental Society, is a member of the Academy of Cosmetic and Adhesive Dentistry, and is a devoted supporter of CASA – the organization of Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused or neglected children.

Outside of the office, you can often find Dr. Young sailing and enjoying the magnificent Santa Cruz environment. He loves sharing his outdoor adventures with his extended family: He raised two daughters and has four fantastic grandchildren!

Dr. Thomas Young has been a huge part of making our practice what it is today. He now works at the office two days a week, but his presence is felt even when he is not around. From all of us at Landmark Dental Group, thank you, Dr. Young! We are honored to have you as a colleague and friend!

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

Crowns and Bridges From Your Local Geriatric Dentists

Crowns Bridges Local Geriatric Dentists

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4 FAQs about Dental Crowns and Bridges

Older patients often struggle with many dental problems, but a general dentist that has experience with the geriatric population can do a lot to give you a more beautiful and healthy smile. Check out these four FAQs about dental crowns and bridges.

What Materials Are Used to Craft Dental Crowns and Bridges?

There are many materials your dentist can use to create dental crowns and bridges. Some of the most common materials include metal and porcelain. Metal crowns may be crafted from gold alloys or alloys of high-noble metals. To many people, metal crowns and bridges are the least attractive, but they are incredibly durable. They withstand wear and tear well, and they are not susceptible to cracking or chipping.

Porcelain crowns and bridges can be all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal. Both types are beautiful because the porcelain mimics the look of natural teeth well. All porcelain crowns are slightly less durable than metal crowns, but they are good for people with metal allergies or for front teeth.

What Types of Dental Bridges Are Available?

Traditional bridges are still extremely popular because of their durability. A traditional bridge is commonly used when you have one or two missing teeth between at least two healthy teeth. The healthy teeth are filed down as they would be with a crown. The bridge is bonded to those healthy teeth, which hold the fake tooth/teeth in place.

Why Might Geriatric Dentists Suggest Dental Crowns?

Even older patients want to have a healthy, strong smile, but normal wear and tear and bad dental hygiene often leads to weakened teeth. Luckily, dental crowns can actually strengthen your teeth. They are commonly suggested if you have large cracks, large chips or large fillings.

Crowns give the tooth a solid surface again. Consider a solid clay pot vs. a fractured pot that has been glued back together. The repaired pot requires a lot less pressure to break because of the weak spots. Similarly, a tooth with cracks or big fillings has weak spots that affect its durability. The dental crown covers and protects these weak spots.

Why Choose a Dental Bridge Instead of a Partial Denture?

So many elderly patients choose dentures because they are cheap and easy. If you only have a few missing teeth, you may consider partial dentures; however, a dental bridge is a much better option. Firstly, dental bridges are not removable, so you don’t have to take them out at night or use special cleaner. You clean your dental bridge like normal teeth, except you will need special floss to floss under the bridge.

Another advantage of dental bridges is they are more durable than partial dentures. People with partial dentures may have trouble eating certain foods because they make the dentures move or slip. This isn’t the case with a dental bridge. You can typically continue eating all of the foods you love.

Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you have to live with weak or missing teeth. Geriatric dentists can give you a healthy, strong smile, so you can continue enjoying the foods you love without fear. For more information contact Landmark Dental Group today.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

It’s National Tooth Fairy Day, Make It Momentous!

National Tooth Fairy Day

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Kids love the tooth fairy – that’s no big surprise, especially if you put money under their pillow when they lose their teeth! But, did you also know that there is a reason that parents love her too? It’s true! February 28th is National Tooth Fairy Day. This is a better time as any to start the talk to your kids about children’s dentistry, namely how they can take care of their teeth and gums and have better oral health. As a parent, you probably know just how important children’s dentistry is. Gathering your kids up each morning and night to floss and brush their teeth isn’t always the easiest thing in the world to do, but thankfully you don’t have to go it alone anymore. Now you have the Tooth Fairy in your corner to help you out. This is going to be a fantastic day to sit down with your kids and talk seriously about how to have better oral hygiene and why it’s so important to brush and floss daily. To make it even more Tooth Fairy-themed, there are even Tooth Fairy cartoons, books, and movies to help educate your kids and keep them entertained and have fun.

If you need a few more ideas on what to do on this special day, here are a few activities to consider.

Tooth Shaped Cookies

This is a really fun activity to do with your kids and its something they will love. Baking cookies or cooking with your kids gives you a chance to talk to them about the things that really matter. Its also a great way to keep the line open for communication with your kids.

Tooth Shaped “Fairy” Pillows

Parents have been leaving coins under their kid’s pillows when they lose a tooth for years. But, what if your family did something a little different? Tooth Shaped Fairy Pillows are something you can create with your kids. You can let them pick out the fabric, jewels, and any other decorations. Once the pillow is done they can keep it as a keepsake and put it on their dresser for when the Tooth Fairy Comes.

Tooth Fairy Coloring Books

Let’s be honest, everyone loves to color – even parents. This is a nice way to spend some time together and have loads of fun coloring in images of the Tooth Fairy and all things dental hygienic.

There’s no such thing as learning too early about children’s dentistry. If your kids can talk and understand directions or instructions, they can understand well enough for you to start talking to them about their teeth and how important it is to take care of them! It’s also a good idea for you, as the parent, to schedule a visit at Landmark Dental today. Together you can come up with a dental plan to keep your kid’s teeth healthy and strong and to keep them happy and confident.

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz

For National Tooth Fairy Day, Get Your Child’s Teeth Checked

tooth fairy day

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Nothing is more exciting to kids than seeing their first “baby tooth” fall out. Believe it or not, there’s a special day that comes around every year just for celebrating the wonder and excitement of losing a tooth … National Tooth Fairy Day!

Yes, National Tooth Fairy Day is February 28th every year. But, celebrating the day your child loses a tooth is actually nothing new. In fact, people all over the world have honored this special occasion for hundreds – even thousands – of years!

Just think about these traditions:

  • Vikings believed children’s teeth were lucky, and kept them for safety on adventures.
  • In Spain, the Tooth Mouse – El Raton de Los Dientes – would trade teeth for presents.
  • Many cultures would bury children’s teeth to return their magical powers to the earth.
  • In many Asian countries, teeth lost from the lower jaw get thrown up onto the roof!

Losing Baby Teeth Marks an Important Moment in Children’s Dentistry, Too

It’s interesting to think that so many different places and peoples all recognize the importance of losing these teeth, which dentists call primary teeth. Everyone starts out with 20 primary teeth. Between ages 6-12, all those teeth are replaced by 32 adult teeth.

That’s right – adults have many, many more teeth than children. Yet, they’re all in place before most people are even teenagers! That makes it especially important to start looking after kids’ teeth from a very early age.

Kids should start learning to brush independently at age 2 (with supervision until age 8), using a pea-sized bit of fluoride toothpaste by age 3. By the time teeth start getting loose, kids should be confident about their brushing skills. Even though primary teeth do fall out, they should still be kept healthy!

“Baby teeth” train kids for the big leagues of brushing like an adult and preventing cavities!

If You’re Celebrating Tooth Fairy Day, It Might be Time to See a Dentist

Children’s dentistry takes into account the fact that little ones have special challenges when it comes to keeping their teeth healthy. They need to develop good habits, see that their effort pays off, and get prompt help if their teeth start to grow in crooked or crowded.

Generally, primary teeth don’t loosen and fall out until underlying adult teeth are ready to come through the gums and replace them. Dentists call that process eruption. Sometimes, though, teeth can erupt in ways that are uncomfortable or even painful.

When teeth crowd each other, a trip to the dentist is needed right away.

At Landmark Dental Group, we look forward to meeting kids of all ages and helping them build great dental health habits. When teeth start to come out, it’s especially important to pick a caring, supportive, and trustworthy dentist’s office.

Come to Landmark Dental Group today for children’s dentistry services that will help your young one learn the lessons of Tooth Fairy Day and keep it exciting … this year and every year, until those shiny new teeth have all arrived!

Landmark Dental Group Contact | Santa Cruz