Warm Saltwater Rinse | Riverside, Ca Dentist

multiple smilesIt’s often the case that the most important aspects of your oral health start at home – brushing, and flossing, are at the top of the list. But there are other things you can do at home to help keep your mouth happy. One of the easiest and most effective treatments for dental pain – especially when recovering from professional dental procedures – is a warm saltwater rinse.

Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater temporarily creates an environment in which bacteria have a harder time surviving. While it may not kill all bacteria, it will make it difficult for them to multiply, which will help your mouth in the longer term. The salt also promotes healing, so if you’ve recently had dental procedures or oral surgery, the saltwater rinse will assist your tissue in healing.

Making a saltwater rinse is easy – use ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, and rinse for approximately 30 seconds.

If you’ve recently had oral surgery, you can rinse every 2-3 hours for the first few days, and then 3-4 times per day for the next week. If you haven’t recently had surgery, you should consider a saltwater rinse no more than once a week – using saltwater rinses too often may cause long term negative effects on your enamel.

Brushing and flossing properly are always critical to long term dental health, but if you have a cut on your inner cheek, or if you’ve recently had dental surgery, a warm saltwater rinse may be a great way to help your mouth heal.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

What to Expect During a Root Canal | Riverside, Ca Dentist

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To most patients the thought of needing a root canal is very stressful. With modern dentistry root canals are nothing to fear. Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. When in fact most patients report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.

So what exactly is involved in a root canal procedure? Well, a root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. It is performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged. The nerve and pulp are removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

Signs you may need root canal therapy include:

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity (pain) to hot or cold temperatures (after the heat or cold has been removed)
  • Discoloration (darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums

 

The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone. Your dentist or endodontist will then use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth. Actually, anesthesia may not be necessary, since the nerve is dead, but most dentists still anesthetize the area to make the patient more relaxed and at ease.

An access hole will then be drilled into the tooth. The pulp, along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue, and related debris, is removed from the tooth. The cleaning-out process is accomplished using root canal files. A series of these files of increasing diameter are each subsequently placed into the access hole and worked down the full length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals.

The root canal procedure should relieve the pain you feel. Until your root canal procedure is completely finished — that is, the permanent filling is in place and a crown, if needed, is in place — it’s wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontaminating the tooth’s interior and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.

For the first few days following the completion of treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.

As far as oral health care is concerned, brush and floss as you regularly would, and see your dentist at normally scheduled intervals. Because the final step of the root canal procedure is application of a restoration such as a crown.

Root canals are highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with root canal therapy can last a lifetime.

If you have tooth pain or believe you may need a root canal, contact Dr. Middleton today.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

What is a Tooth | Riverside Cosmetic Dentist

186932212We all have them, but what IS a tooth? It’s probably not something you’ve ever really thought about. A tooth is actually a complicated structure. It’s made up of a lot more than you may think it is.

Humans have 32 teeth – hard, calcified white objects we use to chew, cut, crush, and swallow food.

The visible surface of the tooth is known as enamel. A hard, mineral surface, the enamel is typically light yellow to white in color, but is semi translucent, so the actual color of your tooth is determined by both the enamel and the underlying dentin. Made of a crystalized calcium phosphate known as hydroxyapatite, the enamel is both incredibly strong and incredibly brittle.

While enamel covers to outside of the tooth above the gum line, below the gum line the surface of the tooth is covered in a substance known as cementum. A yellowish substance, it contains less than half of the mineral content as enamel, making it much softer. The primary purpose of cementum is to provide a surface to allow the periodontal ligaments in the gums to hold onto the tooth.

Below the enamel and cementum lies the dentin. Dentin is a combination of mineralized hydroxyapatite, organic material and water, and is both much softer than enamel and much less brittle. However, it’s also more prone to decay, and severe cavities can cause significant dental problems if not treated rapidly.

Finally, within the dentin lies the tooth pulp. The pulp is soft tissue, filled with blood vessels and nerves that provide the tooth with oxygen, nutrients, and also the ability to transmit ‘senses’ such as temperature, pain, and pressure. The pulp also helps to form and repair dentin from within the tooth.

While most people will only see the enamel surface of their teeth, proper dental care will focus on maintaining each layer healthy – by protecting the enamel with proper brushing, and treating cavities formed by decay before they damage the dentin or pulp.

Proper oral hygiene is imperative to keeping your teeth for a lifetime.  If you’re concerned you may not be properly maintaining your teeth, Dr. Middleton is here to help you.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

 

What is the Difference Between Gingivitis & Gum Disease? | Riverside Cosmetic Dentist

494183909Gingivitis is one of those words a patient absolutely dreads hearing come out of their dentists mouth. For one, you’ve essentially been found out: poor oral care habits and skipping out on regular dental visits. Two, it can be a little embarrassing.

We’ve all heard the word gingivitis, but what is it?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums.

But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)

 

While gingivitis is inflammation of the gums around the teeth, periodontal disease occurs when the bone below the gums gets inflamed or infected.

Gingivitis forms when food particles mixes with saliva and bacteria-plaque forms that then sticks to the surfaces of teeth. If dental plaque and tartar aren’t removed by brushing with toothpaste and flossing, it can become mineralized and form tartar. Tartar is very hard and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Which is why it is imperative to see your dentist for regular cleanings. Untreated tarter can lead to major and costly dental problems.

Plaque and tartar are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the underlying bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

Dr. Middleton can help you keep these terrible dental afflictions at bay.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

The Pro’s and Con’s of Coffee | Riverside, Ca Dentist

477787597Is coffee really bad for your teeth? Well, yes and no. Studies show we consume an average of 3 cups of any variety of coffee a day in the United States. That’s about 150 million Americans wondering if they’re compromising their teeth with every sip.

The con’s of coffee are the usual suspects, staining, coffee breath, etc. You know those stubborn brown stains that accumulate on the inside of a coffee mug? Those give you some idea of how coffee drinking can stain your teeth over time. Coffee stains appear to be even more persistent than tobacco stains, in fact. According to one study that compared the two types of stain, coffee-stained teeth were more resistant to toothbrushing and more likely to become discolored again following a bleach treatment.

In addition to being unsightly, teeth with heavy coffee stains tend to be sticky and apt to attract food particles and bacteria

  • Acids in coffee directly attack your tooth enamel. This leaves teeth vulnerable to cavities, as well as cracked and broken teeth.
  • Acids and bad bacteria feed off of each other. Bacteria left in your mouth love to feed off of the acids found in coffee. They multiply rapidly and become responsible for cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
  • Coffee stains teeth. While this is no surprise, coffee is the leading contributor to stained or yellow teeth.

But what are the pro’s of coffee? A Boston University study found that chugging that daily cup of joe may have you spewing sour coffee breath, but it also might pack some sweet rewards, too. Research suggests that drinking coffee can help protect your teeth from periodontal disease, the inflammation of your gums and jawbone.

After studying more than 1,000 men for up to 30 years, the researchers found that those who drank one or more cups of coffee each day had fewer teeth with bone loss–the hallmark of periodontal disease which can lead to loosening and ultimately loss of your teeth. The researchers also found no evidence that even moderate or heavy coffee drinking was associated with any other markers of periodontal damage, such as bleeding of the gums or development of bacteria-collecting pockets around the teeth.

So, coffee will still stain your teeth but you don’t have to worry about it leading to any dental demise. Plus, it’s less acidic than many other common beverages, like fruit juices, sodas, and energy drinks. According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, all of those drinks–but not coffee–were shown to weaken teeth’s protective enamel.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

Five Things That Can Be Damaging Your Teeth | Riverside, Ca Dentist

459953231Most of us are very busy people and we go about our days getting everything we need to accomplish all while not thinking about our oral health. But your oral health is a daily consideration. You may not even realize things you’re doing in your every day life may be effecting your teeth.

When it comes to your oral health and the well being of your teeth, there are the usual suspects to blame: soda, sugar, shoddy brushing. But you may be doing things in your every day routine that are adding stress to your teeth!

Here are five unexpected dental culprits—and the best ways to stop them.

CARDIO
Long cardio workouts may take a toll on your teeth, one study found. The researchers compared the oral health of endurance athletes with non-exercisers and found that the athletes were more likely to have tooth erosion, which is a gradual wearing away of enamel. And the more time they spent training per week, the greater their risk of cavities. That’s because exercise reduces your saliva, the researchers found. Saliva is filled with minerals that nurture your teeth and neutralize acids that cause wear and rot. On top of that, consuming sugary energy gels and acidic sports drinks during training can encourage tooth decay.
Your fix: Since you have less saliva during long training sessions, battle decay-causing bacteria and plaque by brushing before you exercise and rinsing your mouth with water after consuming anything sugary or acidic. Plus, chewing sugar-free gum when you work out can boost your saliva production!

WEIGHT LIFTING
It’s a natural tendency to clench your jaw when you strain to lift weights. It may even improve performance by increasing blood flow to parts of your brain associated with motor control. But all that pressure can wear down your teeth or even crack them, causing persistent pain in your jaw, he says.
Your fix: If you bite down hard when you exert yourself in the gym, consider wearing a mouthguard. Inexpensive “boil-and-bite” mouth guards are effective and easy to find at drugstores or sporting goods stores.  Or your dentist can make you a custom one.

MEDICATIONS
Hundreds of meds for allergies, depression, heart health, and blood pressure cause dry mouth. That may not sound like a major side effect, but it can wreak havoc on your teeth, since they need saliva to protect against acids that cause decay and erosion. When you don’t have an adequate saliva supply, your teeth can undergo catastrophic damage in a matter of months.
Your fix: Chewing on sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free hard candy throughout the day will help stimulate saliva production. Stay away from sugary and acidic foods that encourage decay and erosion.

HEARTBURN
Sure, the chest pain sucks, but did you know that acid reflux can do permanent damage to your teeth, too? The acid from your digestive system can wind up in your mouth, dissolving your enamel just like the acid from soda or sports drinks. This acid, however, can be even more potent.
Your fix: If your dentist finds erosion on the teeth located at the back of your mouth, acid reflux is most likely the culprit. Ask your physician how to tackle your heartburn.

MEAL-TIME BRUSHING
Brushing after eating acidic foods—like juice, fruit, sports drinks, red wine, and soda—can weaken enamel. That may lead to yellowing and greater odds of cracks and chips.
Your fix: Swish with water to rinse away the acid and wait 40 minutes for the calcium in your saliva to remineralize weakened areas. Then brush(Source: prevention.com).

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

Bad Breath Could Mean Big Problems! | Riverside, Ca Dentist

119504435Do you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

The medical condition dry mouth (xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:

  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at work or school to brush after lunch). Don’t forget to brush the tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.
  • See your dentist regularly — at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning and will be able to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.
  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
  • Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best.
  • Keep a log of the foods you eat. If you think they may be causing bad breath, bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some drugs may play a role in creating mouth odors(Source: WebMD).

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and the odor is not of oral origin, you may be referred to your family doctor or to a specialist to determine the odor source and treatment plan. If the odor is due to gum disease, for example, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum conditions.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

Are Dental Implants for You? | Riverside, Ca Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-507064929Dental Implants have changed the face of dentistry over the last 25 years. Success rates of dental implants can vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care dental implants can last a lifetime.

A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. Like tooth roots, dental implants are secured in the jawbone and are not visible once surgically placed. They are used to secure crowns (the parts of teeth seen in the mouth), bridgework or dentures by a variety of means. They are made of titanium, which is lightweight, strong and biocompatible, which means that it is not rejected by the body. Titanium and titanium alloys are the most widely used metals in both dental and other bone implants, such as orthopedic joint replacements. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.

Titanium’s special property of fusing to bone, is the biological basis of dental implant success. That’s because when teeth are lost, the bone that supported those teeth is lost too. Placing dental implants stabilizes bone, preventing its loss. Along with replacing lost teeth, implants help maintain the jawbone’s shape and density. Meaning they also support the facial skeleton and, indirectly, the soft tissue structures. Dental implants help you eat, chew, smile, talk and look completely natural. This functionality imparts social, psychological and physical well-being.

Now the big question is, “Are dental implants right for me?” Dr. Middleton can answer that for you! Contact Dr. Middleton to discuss if dental implants are for you.

For more information call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario,  Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

 

Improve your smile with Inlays and Onlays | Riverside CA Dentist

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Inlays and onlays are the ideal dental restorations needed to repair damaged teeth, not only improving your oral hygiene, but enhancing the look of your smile.  Dental inlays and onlays are used when old fillings need to be removed or replaced. A dental inlay is similar to a filling and fits inside the cusp tips (top edges) of the tooth. A dental onlay is more extensive and extends over the cusps of the treated tooth. Both will rejuvenate your smile! Dr. Middleton can also use inlays and onlays to replace dark, old dental restorations that can look unappealing.

How it’s done:  

There are two types of inlays and onlays: direct and indirect. Direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office. They are placed in one visit. Indirect inlays and onlays are made in a laboratory. Two visits are needed to place them. The type your dentist will use depends on how much of the tooth is left.

Direct Inlays and Onlays

Your dentist will remove the decay and shape the tooth. He or she will put a soft material called composite resin on the tooth. The composite resin is molded to fit the tooth. The inlay is removed and hardened in a special oven. Then, your dentist will cement the hardened inlay to your tooth. After the inlay is cemented, it will be polished. Your dentist may have to shape it slightly to adjust the way your teeth come together.

There is also new technology that allows the dentist to have a ceramic inlay or onlay made in the office and cemented on at the same visit.

Indirect Inlays and Onlays

Your dentist will remove the decay. He or she then will make an impression of the prepared tooth and neighboring teeth. The tooth will get a temporary filling. The impression will be sent to a laboratory, which will make the inlay or onlay.

At your second visit, your dentist will take out the temporary filling and clean and dry the tooth. He or she will then cement the inlay or onlay to the tooth. Then it will be polished. Your dentist may have to shape it slightly to adjust the way your teeth come together.

Some dentists have a machine that allows the dentist to take a picture (instead of an impression) of the prepared tooth. Then a computer guides the machine in making a ceramic inlay, onlay or crown. This process can take less than one hour. Your inlay or onlay can then be cemented into place at the same visit.

Inlays and onlays are completely natural looking dental restorations that will restore the strength and stability to your teeth. Dr. Middleton emphasizes that inlays and onlays will make your oral hygiene routines easier! In only two dental visits, your oral health will drastically improve with inlays and onlays.

A dental inlay or onlay is bigger than a filling and smaller than a crown. It is bonded or cemented into place.

An inlay is similar to a filling, but it lies within the cusps on the chewing surface of your tooth. An onlay is larger than an inlay. It replaces one or more decayed cusps.

Inlays or onlays can be made of gold, composite resin (plastic) or ceramics. They can last for 10 years or longer. How long they last depends on:

  • The material used
  • The teeth involved
  • The forces of chewing
  • How well you maintain them with good oral hygiene and regular visits to a dentist

Watch this informative video on Inlays and Onlays:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Wu8_MCnJs (Source: YouTube)

Only Dr. Middleton will be able to determine whether or not inlays and onlays will be right for your situation.

For your next dental restoration call Dr. Gerald Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.

Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario, Eastvale, Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.

Teeth Whitening | Riverside, Ca Dentist

close up smile red lipstickIf you’re tired of having yellow, stained teeth, you are not alone. Teeth whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color. There are many methods available, such as brushing, bleaching strips, bleaching pen, bleaching gel, and laser bleaching. Teeth whitening has become the most requested procedure in cosmetic dentistry today. More than 100 million Americans whiten their teeth one way or another.

So if you brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly then why are your teeth still discolored? This happens because the outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years by consumption of beverages with caffeine, soda, wine and smoking.

When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth all day until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened. The best way to help your stained discolored teeth is with one of the easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures, professional tooth whitening.

Contributing factors to yellowing, stained teeth:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

 Simple rules to live by to try and stop the yellowing process:

  • Visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings
  • Rinse your mouth out with water several times throughout the day
  • Use toothpaste with whitening agents

 

The most popular and convenient method is with the Zoom whitening technique. This procedure is done in our office in about an hour. Our trained clinicians first place a protective barrier on the cheeks and gums. The Zoom whitening gel is then applied to the teeth. This gel is used with the Zoom light which together gently penetrates the surface of the teeth to break up stains and discolorations. During this time you can relax, watch a dvd or listen to music. The gel is applied for three 15 minute sessions for a total of 45 minutes to 1 hour. You then leave with your whiter, brighter smile.

One of the best ways to whiten your teeth is to visit your dentist for professional teeth whitening. Contact Dr. Gerald Middleton and make an appointment to get that beautiful smile you have always dreamed of at (951) 688-3442) or visit our website.

Dr. Gerald Middleton also proudly serves Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore, and surrounding areas.