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For the latest news about Dr. Nguyen and El Portal Dental Group, read our newsletter below. You’ll learn about:


Transforming Your Smile for the Summer
Transforming Your Smile for the Summer

With summer here, lots of us will be working on our tans and getting in shape. Why not add your smile to your transformation wish list?  Whether straightening your teeth or brightening those pearly whites, there are several options you should definitely consider. Here are some ways to transform your smile this summer.

A Clear Alternative to Traditional Braces

As an adult, you want a straight and flawless smile, but wearing geeky traditional braces out of the question. No worries – you can straighten your teeth with ClearCorrect aligners that are plastic and virtually invisible, and no one will be the wiser for it. Plus, you can conveniently remove your clear braces when you eat, brush or floss, or for special events or posing for photographs. There are no wires or metal brackets, which means you won’t irritate your mouth, break your hardware or experience headaches.

At El Portal Dental Group, we’ll take impressions of your teeth and send them to the ClearCorrect lab, where they will be scanned and a computer model of your teeth will be constructed. From this model, your custom aligners will be created. Once the aligners are returned to our office, we will set up an appointment to bond/glue any small, clear buttons/attachments to your teeth. These clear attachments will act as your “braces” and will allow us to manipulate the teeth. Then, your first aligner will be inserted and instructions on wear and care will be given. ClearCorrect aligners are worn for 22-23 hours of the day and are usually changed every two weeks, or as prescribed by Dr. Nguyen.

Tooth Whitening for a dazzling smile

Over time, your teeth can become stained, darker, or discolored. Teeth whitening lighten their shade and transform a dull smile into a dazzling one that enhances your confidence and self-esteem.

Teeth whitening systems are safe, easy, and an effective way to remove or bleach external stains on your teeth to brighten the appearance of your smile. El Portal Dental Group offers both as an in-office or take-home option.

The Sapphire In-Office Teeth Whitening System uses a powerful light along with professional-grade teeth whitening gel to bleach your teeth. This is a one-visit office treatment that gently yet dramatically whitens and brightens dull, discolored teeth in less than an hour.

As an at-home solution, Contrast PM® Teeth Whitening Gel is a safe, effective, and easy-to-use whitening system. Custom-fit whitening trays surround the teeth so that the gel coats the surface of the teeth. The gel has a mild, minty flavor and noticeably whitens teeth in just seven to ten days, as opposed to the three weeks it takes other at-home teeth whitening solutions.

Restoring your teeth’s youthful appearance

If it’s a flawless, beautiful smile you’re looking for, porcelain veneers can achieve this by improving the color, shape, and spacing of your teeth. Veneers are thin artificial coverings that are bonded to the front of your natural teeth, providing a great solution for correcting the appearance of chipped, cracked, or gapped teeth or to whiten stained teeth. They can also correct misaligned or misshapen teeth while strengthening your natural teeth and preserving their natural structure.

What’s more, porcelain veneers are natural-looking and last a long time. Veneers are stain- and chip-resistant and won’t discolor over time, plus, they can restore your teeth’s youthful appearance and protect them from further damage. By bonding a thin porcelain shell to the front of your teeth, Dr. Nguyen can create the dazzling, natural-looking smile you’ve always wanted – not just for summer, but for all year long.

For more information about improving your smile, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.


Do Veneers Ruin Your Teeth?
Do Veneers Ruin Your Teeth?

Cutting Your Teeth: Why Veneers Can Be a Valuable Option

 

Hollywood is synonymous with glittering gowns, perfectly coifed hair, and shining smiles – so it’s no surprise that it was a California dentist, Charles Pincus, who was the first to develop a solution to less-than-perfect teeth. First introduced to the cosmetic dentistry field in the 1930s, this innovative procedure certainly made an impression. Veneers were considered a groundbreaking development for those on the hunt for an A-list smile.

 

Today, the popularity of veneers is still very much on the rise. A 2011 study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that dental veneers have experienced a growth of over 250 percent in recent years. And with most Americans holding the belief that a smile is an important social asset, chances are this technique isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

While this procedure is considered cosmetic, it isn’t to be taken lightly.

 

Speak with a reputable cosmetic dentist who will discuss the pros and cons involved, as well as your other options. Dental veneers (also known as porcelain veneers, or dental porcelain laminates), are medical-grade shells of tooth-like material that are placed over the surface of your current teeth to enhance their appearance. Whether you have chipped, misaligned, discolored, uneven, or irregularly shaped teeth, veneers can certainly transform your smile.

 

Enamel is strong, but not impervious to damage; which is why we hear so often from dentists about protecting our enamel with fluoride and proper brushing techniques. Once it has degraded, our tooth enamel can’t be regenerated because it doesn’t contain living tissue or organisms. When you undergo a veneer procedure, your cosmetic dentist will have to remove a certain portion of the outer layer of enamel to make room for the covering. It is important to understand this before deciding to get veneers.

 

Unlike crowns, which can require grinding down the teeth into tiny nubs, no major structural changes are needed for veneer placement. According to one article, 99 percent of the time a dentist doesn’t have to shave away more than 0.5 mm of tooth enamel to achieve a patient’s desired results. Otherwise, veneers are relatively risk-free and won’t cause any other damage to your natural teeth. 

 

According to the AACD, temporary tooth sensitivity is expected following this procedure and there are a variety of products your dentist can recommend to mitigate this. Prior to choosing veneers, you’ll have a series of X-rays, photographs, and study models prepared to ensure that your teeth are healthy and that you’re an appropriate candidate for veneers. Keep in mind that veneers don’t treat any medical conditions, and are solely a cosmetic fix.

 

If you’re willing to pay the price for veneers – which can cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth, you’ll reap a multitude of benefits. According to El Portal Dental Group, one dental office performing this highly requested procedure, porcelain veneers are long-lasting, natural-looking, chip-resistant, and won’t discolor over time. If chipped or discolored teeth are keeping you from smiling, consider the option of veneers.

 

While it’s a rare occurrence, veneers that are improperly placed may lead to long-term complications to the gums and underlying structures. In some cases, the procedure could damage the dentin, change the alignment of your bite, or cause jaw pain and difficulty chewing. This is why it’s important to choose the right provider for your veneers. Do your due diligence and select an experienced cosmetic dentist with plenty of training.

 

Dr. Khang Nguyen of El Portal Dental Group earned his DDS degree from New York University College of Dentistry – one of the most respected dental programs in the country. In order to offer patients the most cutting-edge dental treatments available, he regularly attends continuing education courses. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479.


Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked
Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked

When it comes to maintaining good oral health and a gleaming smile, having the right information is important. Surprisingly, though, certain myths about dental hygiene still persist that could lead to unnecessary problems with your teeth if they are believed and followed.

Here are five common dental myths that should be put to rest:

Myth #1: Brushing and flossing twice a day isn’t as important as dentists have you believe.

In our busy modern world, it’s easy to become lax about dental hygiene. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason why brushing and flossing at least twice a day makes sense. 

Most people have three meals a day, not including snacks here and there. Every time we eat, small food particles get left behind in our gums and between our teeth. Those food particles breed bacteria and, if not removed, eventually become plaque and then tartar.  However, if you brush in the morning and again at night, it helps reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and keeps your tooth surfaces smooth so that bacteria can’t cling as easily. 

However, brushing only covers two sides of your teeth. It hardly affects the spaces between your teeth. That’s why flossing is also important. It removes food particles trapped between your teeth and should be done each time you brush. If flossing daily is a chore, however, at least floss every other day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Myth #2: Brushing your teeth more than once a day can erode tooth enamel.

It’s not the frequency of brushing that can wear down tooth enamel; it’s mostly other factors such as the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth, acid reflux, grinding teeth, and nail-biting. However, a hard-bristled toothbrush can also affect the wear and tear of your tooth enamel. That’s why most dentists recommend that you use a soft toothbrush to avoid damage to your teeth and gums.

Also, it’s a matter of brushing your teeth properly. It should only take about two minutes. Brush gently, in short strokes at a 45-degree angle from the gum line, and use up-and-down strokes brushing the back of your teeth. Hold your toothbrush with your fingertips as opposed to in the palm of your hand to avoid brushing too hard. Rule of thumb, you’re brushing too hard if the bristles bend.

Myth #3: If you eat sugary foods, it’ll destroy your teeth.

Having a sweet tooth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed to have tooth decay. There’s a simple way to have your cake – and candy and other sweets – and beat tooth decay, too.

What happens is that the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produces an acid that deteriorates the enamel of your teeth. And the longer the sugar lingers in your mouth, the more likely the bacteria will feed off it and produce the acid.

So, the problem isn’t how much sugar you’re eating, but how long the sugar remains on your teeth. The obvious solution is to brush your teeth and rinse out your mouth right after eating, especially if you also sip sugary drinks.

Myth #4: Teeth whitening will ruin your enamel.

Teeth whitening gel (or bleach) does not damage tooth enamel. The hydrogen peroxide is soaked up by the inner tissue of your teeth (dentin), which becomes lighter, and the whiter color is reflected out through the enamel. The process can cause temporary tooth sensitivity, but no erosion of the enamel.

New advances in dental technology have made teeth whitening safer and more effective – for both cosmetic dental procedure and in-office and over-the-counter products.

Myth #5: Dental visits are painful.

This is a common excuse for avoiding dental visits, no doubt fostered by scenes of dentists drilling cavities and prodding sensitive teeth in movies and television shows. Some patients might even have had a bad experience at a dental office that makes them dread seeing any dentist. 

However, dentistry has evolved over the years to the point where a patient’s physical and emotional comfort has become a top priority. One option that eliminates the pain and fear is sedation dentistry. Conscious sedation is administered in the form of a pill that allows you to be awake throughout your dental appointment, yet relaxed throughout a procedure.

Getting the facts straight is an important part of proper dental care. Before skipping a routine visit or trying an unproven treatment, visit a trusted dental practice. For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.

 


The Oral Cancer Foundation Announces the "Check Your Mouth" Campaign
The Oral Cancer Foundation Announces the

Most Americans have never heard of oral cancer, let alone how deadly it is. Oral cancer kills one person in the United States every hour of every day, all year round. In 2018, there will be approximately 50,000 Americans diagnosed with this form of cancer, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Oral and oropharyngeal cancers affect the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the soft palate, and the walls of the throat. Although relatively rare, these cancers have a very high mortality rate due to the fact that many cases are discovered at a late stage of the disease. The lack of awareness among the general public has made it a silent threat. And its prevalence seems to be on the rise. 

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) has launched a nationwide public service campaign aimed at the early discovery of oral cancer. Their "Check Your Mouth™" effort is based on an interactive website designed to familiarize individuals with the disease, empowering them to find its early signs and symptoms through self-examination. Timely discovery of oral cancer, as with most cancer, may lead to less invasive treatments, and better outcomes and survival. 

Tobacco and alcohol

You may already know that tobacco use increases risk of oral cancers. High alcohol consumption can also put you at risk for oral cancer. Tobacco use of any form is a blatantly obvious oral health hazard, directly contributing to an increased risk of oral cancer.

HPV and oral cancers

According to the OCF site, the increase in oral cancer diagnoses may be the result of infection by a certain variant of the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV virus is common; The Centers for Disease Control states that 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes. For most people, the immune system clears the virus from their body, doing no harm whatsoever.

For a small number of Americans, however, the immune system can’t clear the virus, which can stay dormant for several years. Decades later, the infection may resurface and progress into cancer. 

Public awareness 

The "Check Your Mouth" site was designed to help people avoid the disease when possible, and teach them how to recognize its early signs and symptoms, and when to seek the advice of a dentist or other healthcare professional. 

The Self-discovery video at the site provides step-by-step directions on how to perform your own visual and tactile examination. This “Check Your Mouth™” exam actually starts outside of your mouth by looking at yourself in the mirror. The first step begins with checking your neck and lymph nodes and proceeding to checking the inside of your cheeks, your lips, gum tissues and tongue. It then moves to the floor and roof of your mouth and ends with the back of your mouth and tonsils.

The main objective of this OCF campaign is to reduce the incidence of difficult to treat, late stage oral cancer. The best outcomes, like most forms of cancer, occur with the earliest possible diagnosis. In the case of oral cancer, either a timely self-examination or regularly scheduled dental exams are vital for finding any signs of cancer.

Remember that you can perform self-examination, but only a dentist or healthcare professional can determine the presence of the disease. You can take the first step to beating oral cancer by visiting the “Check Your Mouth™” website.  

If you would like more information about oral cancer screening and prevention, or have any other dental concerns, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online. We are here to meet all of your dental needs.


Food Choices and Their Effect on Your Oral Health
Food Choices and Their Effect on Your Oral Health

Food and drink fuels your day. Basic health aside, what and how you eat are also vital factors in your oral health. A healthy diet packed with nutrients can go a long way in helping you maintain good oral health.

 

On the other hand, a bad diet can hurt the health of your teeth and gums. Your smile may be the first to suffer! Unhealthy diets can stain or dim tooth enamel, which can be clearly visible on your front teeth where you eat and drink.

 

An unhealthy diet can also promote tooth decay and cause gum disease, so taking the time to be mindful of what you eat and drink can go a long way towards healthy teeth and gums.

 

Here are a few common things that can hurt your oral health.

 

 

·       Sugar loading

We all have a “sweet tooth” every now and then, but sugary foods and drink can create an unhealthy oral environment. The bacteria present in your mouth loves the sweet stuff and it reacts by releasing acids that promote tooth decay and other problems. The average American consumes up to 15 pounds of sugar a year! We love the stuff, but it doesn’t love us back.

 

 

·       Drinking too much of certain beverages:

Drinking too many soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks can impact your oral health. And you probably know that daily coffee and tea drinking can stain your tooth enamel. Regular cleanings can help if you can’t do without your morning coffee and evening tea. Finally, limit the amount of alcohol you drink; moderation is the key!

 

·       Snacking:

With our hectic, work-centered schedules, we may rely on snacks between meals to keep us going. But, chewy or sticky snacks, and even chewing gum may promote dental decay.

 

There’s another hazard with snacking: We are also unlikely to brush our teeth after an on-the-run snack. This further adds to potential problems down the road when we allow bacteria to collect between our teeth. A good piece of advice is to avoid sugary snacks and try to at least rinse out your mouth with water after snacking.

 

 

Are you more at risk?

 

Certain conditions and medications make keeping oral health more of a challenge:

 

·       Conditions such as diabetes and acid reflux may make keeping your oral health top-notch more of a challenge. Consult your dentist or physician to find out if any of your chronic conditions may also affect your oral health.

 

·       Medications

Ingredients in some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can make you more vulnerable to oral health problems. For example, antihistamines may dry your mouth, which can make you more likely to have oral health problems.

 

Remember, your meds are important! Just keep your dentist up to date about what you take.

 

What you can do:

 

·       Maintain a balanced, healthy diet and eat regular meals. Keep added sugars to a minimum, and avoid processed foods. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Replace soft drinks with water.

 

·       Brush and clean often! Don’t let hours elapse between a meal and brushing your teeth.

 

·       Keep your dentist up to date with any changes in your health or meds, and most important, go in for your regular dental check-ups.

 

 

Sticking to good dental habits that include regular brushing and flossing, and regular check-ups, can help prepare you for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and you’re your smile healthy and bright all year long.

 


Keeping Your Teeth Clean in the New Year
Keeping Your Teeth Clean in the New Year

You may have welcomed 2018 with a bright, shiny and fresh smile, but keeping up with it is going to take some work. Keeping your teeth clean in the new year means you will have to ditch some bad habits and form some new maintenance habits. Remember, though, keeping your teeth clean is about your overall dental health, and not just keeping them white.

Regular brushing

Most of us brush first thing in the morning and at night. It’s the extra daytime brushing that can help prevent the plaque and bacteria buildup in between meals. Did you have breakfast after brushing your teeth this morning? A quick rinse makes a huge difference. Did you have berries as a snack or corn for lunch? Again, regular brushing will prevent build up of the bad stuff. 

Routine hygiene

Another trick to keeping your teeth clean is keeping up with the routine hygiene – yes, even flossing. Flossing and mouthwash might be irritating and time-consuming, but they make a huge difference in killing bacteria. When bacteria build up, it causes cavities – which can be far more irritating and time-consuming later on down the road. 

Buy a new toothbrush

Starting 2018 might also mean that it’s time for a new toothbrush or brush head. After a few months of use, your brush bristles wear down, making them weaker and basically, not as good at their job or scrubbing away plaque. Dentists recommend you get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months, so if its been longer than that: it’s time to trade in.

Avoid bad habits

If you are a smoker or a heavy wine drinker, 2018 is the year to cut it out, or at least cut back! Smoking tobacco not only stains your teeth, but the chemicals in cigarettes open your mouth up to a whole host of other issues - like sores or mouth cancer.

Ditch the dark drinks

This means you, caffeine lovers! Unfortunately, two of your biggest vehicles for caffeine intake – coffee and soda – are dark drinks that stain your teeth. Let’s not forget that both are (or can be) loaded with sugar - the nemesis of healthy teeth. In this new year, look to cut back on these drinks to salvage your pearly whites. 

If you would like to brighten your smile in 2018 and get more tips for overall dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479.  Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your smile healthy and bright all year long.


The Unexpected Benefits of Dental Implants
The Unexpected Benefits of Dental Implants

One of the first things that your dentist or specialist will do when you walk into their office will be to conduct what is called, a comprehensive oral evaluation. This evaluation gives your dentist a complete picture of your oral health. Due to the unique connection between the mouth and the rest of your body, it also gives dental providers a glimpse of what is happening with your overall health.  Ideally, if you are a new patient, you should receive this evaluation. However, if you have been a patient in the office for years but you’ve not had any active treatment in three or more years, you are due for a comprehensive exam.

 

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were usually pulled. But today, a tooth can often be saved by a variety of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental procedures. Each tooth has at least one nerve that runs through the tooth and connect to the gum. The nerve is the life source of the tooth. If the nerve becomes infected or exposed (due to decay or structural damage), it can be very painful.

 

To understand better, we need to learn the anatomy of a tooth. The crown is the part of the tooth that is normally visible in the mouth, located above the gum line. The root of a tooth is the part embedded in the jaw. It anchors the tooth in its bony socket and is normally not visible, and is located below the gum line.

 

It’s no secret that a healthy, radiant smile can improve your appearance, self-esteem, and relationships, both personal and professional. Therefore, if you have tooth decay or missing teeth, that can lower your confidence and self-esteem. You would give just about anything to have your teeth back, to restore your beautiful smile. This is where dental implants can help.

 

What is a dental implant?

 

Dental implants are an artificial titanium replica of your tooth’s root, which are screwed into an implant. In other words, dental implants are prosthetic roots that serve to function the same way a natural tooth root does. These implants are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line to support a dental crown, bridge, or even a full arch of teeth. Dental implants are secure and are not removable, like dentures. If you have healthy gums and bone, you might be a candidate for dental implants. A dental implant has three parts, the implant, which is a screw that acts as a tooth root, and permanently attaches to the jaw, the abutment, which is a permanent connector that supports your set of teeth, and lastly, the crown, which are the prosthetic teeth that is on the dental implant.

 

As technology and dental procedures keep evolving, today, dentists offer people many different treatment options to rebuild and restore the health and beauty of your smile. In other words, thanks to advanced technology, today's dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth, where before they maybe didn’t look as natural and aesthetically pleasing. Patients have said, that today’s version of dental implants are comfortable and natural-looking, people won’t even notice that you have had any dental work done.

 

Depending on your situation, Dr. Nguyen of El Portal Dental Group can use implant dentistry to do the following:

 

·         Replace one or more teeth without affecting the other teeth

·         Support a bridge and eliminate the need for dentures

·         Provide support for dentures, making it more secure and comfortable

·         Restore function and balance to your bite

·         Give you a naturally beautiful smile

 

However, besides these general uses of dental implants, there are unexpected benefits of these implants that people may want to know about. These include:

 

1.      Dental implants are the next best thing, besides your normal teeth: Dental implants today are strong and stable, restoring missing and decayed teeth, but in a natural way, so it feels, functions, and fits like your normal teeth. Other possible options such as dentures or bridges can lead the bone to deteriorate, and may interfere with everyday actions such as eating, smiling, and speaking. Dental implants have long-term successful outcomes, and give people a natural and beautiful smile, helping them regain their confidence again.

 

2.      Dental Implants protect your jawbone and your other healthy natural teeth: Losing one or more teeth can lead to large gaps and spaces in your mouth that don’t look aesthetically pleasing, and can cause additional oral health issues such as gum disease, infection, and the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support your natural teeth, the bone in your jaw starts to deteriorate, causing it to lose strength and firmness. As a restorative dental procedure, dental implants are one of the only options that help preserve and stimulate natural bone growth, and protect your mouth from bone loss, avoiding jaw pain, and other major complications.

 

3.      Dental implants keep your teeth in place, so you don’t have to worry about your teeth: Dental implants unlike dentures are fixed to your jawbone, making it comfortable and easy for you to carry on with daily occurrences, such as eating, talking, and avoiding jaw clicking due to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction. A face without teeth can make your face look unappealing, sad, and different. Dental implants help retain your face’s natural shape, or restore your appearance, and your face’s natural shape, along with restoring your smile, which is the ultimate goal.

 

 

4.      No cavities with dental implants: Dental implants unlike your natural teeth, are not prone to cavities. However, to protect your oral hygiene, it is imperative that you still brush and floss regularly, and get dental cleanings when need be.

 

To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, call our implant dentistry office in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479 or use our online form to request an appointment with Dr. Khang Nguyen.

 

 

 


Get a Sparkling White Smile for the New Year!
Get a Sparkling White Smile for the New Year!

Why Aren’t My Teeth White?

Most people’s teeth start out white when they are children. Then, teeth begin to discolor over the years. Your teeth have pores, just like your skin. Anything you put into your mouth that has color can absorb into your teeth. The most common things that cause tooth discoloration include:

·        Red wine

·        Coffee

·        Berries

·        Tea

·        Smoking

These agents are particularly active in staining teeth. As time goes on, these stains begin to accumulate and darken, actually changing the color of your teeth from white to a yellowish or brownish tinged color. While teeth staining causes no known health problems, it is unattractive, and can make you appear older and less healthy. You deserve a brilliant, white smile so you can look and feel your best.

How Can I Make My Teeth White Again?

Those stains on your teeth will not go away unless you do something to remove them.

There are many teeth whitening solutions available, from over-the-counter DIY (do-it-yourself) kits, to professional stain removal procedures provided by your dentist. All these products whiten your teeth by being absorbed into the teeth, and gently pushing out the stains through the pores of the teeth. After each whitening session, your teeth will naturally remineralize and rehydrate.

What Is the Difference Between Over-The-Counter Tooth Whitening Kits and those Provided by Your Dentist?

There are differences in methods used for teeth whitening. Just as aggressive brushing may damage the surface of your teeth, so can tooth whitening products. However, if used as instructed, professional teeth whitening is incredibly safe.

When a dentist whitens your teeth, they will provide your teeth with better total whitening coverage because they will use custom made trays to hold the whitening chemicals. This way, the whitening agent gets into every nook and cranny of every tooth, no matter the shape or size of the tooth. Also, whitening done by your dentist will last longer than over-the-counter whiteners. So, if you are looking for results that last more than a few weeks, it is best to go to your dentist for teeth whitening.

How Long Will It Take for the Dentist To Whiten My Teeth?

No product on the market can whiten teeth in just a few minutes, or even a day. It is simply impossible for any safe whitening agent to penetrate deeply enough into teeth at that speed, and accomplish the desired results. Whitening can take as little as four days, or as long as several months. The amount of time it takes depends on the level of tooth discoloration, and the level of whiteness desired as the end result.

If you would like to brighten your smile for the holidays, and for the brand new year, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at 209-385-1479.  They can make sure you are your sparkly best for the sparkly season. Then, when you smile, you will light up the room!

 

 


What is the difference between Dental Crowns and Root Canals

What is the difference between Dental Crowns and Root Canals


So, you’ve made an appointment with your dentist because you have a tooth that’s been bothering you. It doesn’t hurt all the time, but every once in a while, it starts to throb. One of your friends even said, “I bet you need a root canal or a crown.” She seemed to know a lot about what she was saying, but she isn’t a dentist and you’ve never needed any dental work, so you have no idea what she’s talking about. The good news is, until you see the dentist, you don’t know what or if something actually needs to be fixed. The truth is, there are times when a crown is enough. A crown is used to cover a damaged, discolored, or disfigured tooth. Getting a dental crown can either be a necessary, or a cosmetic procedure. However, a root canal is only done when there is a problem, and it is always followed by the placement of a crown to protect the tooth. So, for peace of mind, here’s a little information on the difference between a dental crown and a root canal.

 

 

Tooth Anatomy

 

To understand a root canal, or a crown, it helps if you know a little about the anatomy of a tooth. There are several layers in every tooth. The outermost, and hardest, part of the tooth is the enamel. It is what you see when someone smiles. The next layer under the enamel is the dentin. It is softer and has millions of narrow tubes that lead directly to the center of the tooth, where the pulp is found. This is where all the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are located. The pulp is very important as your teeth are growing and developing, because that is how nourishment gets in. However, after the tooth is fully developed, the pulp is not as important because other structures can provide nourishment to the adult tooth. What is important to note is that decay can affect all layers of the tooth, but the deeper inside the decay is, the more serious the problem.

 

What is a Root Canal?

 

A root canal is a procedure that is necessary when someone has inflammation or an infection in the pulp of the tooth. There are a number of ways that this can occur. If you have deep decay, bacteria can get into the pulp and cause an infection. It can also occur if you have a chip that provides an opening into the tooth. Repeated dental work, or injury from trauma can also cause the problems that will require a root canal. If any of these things are left untreated, you will not only experience severe pain, but may develop an abscess or even more serious infections.

 

To determine if you need a root canal, your dentist will examine you and take X-rays. Next, he or she will numb the area with local anesthetic injections. To get to the pulp, your dentist will have to make an opening in the crown (outside) of your tooth, through the enamel and dentin and into the pulp. This will be done with a small drill. Next, the dentist will use tiny instruments, or files, to clean out all of the damaged or infected pulp from inside of your tooth.  At this point, he or she might put an antibacterial solution inside the tooth to minimize the risk of further infection. Finally, your tooth will get a temporary filling and will then be sealed. The entire procedure may take one or two visits, and with modern dentistry, you should feel minimal or no discomfort. Your tooth may be a little sensitive for a few days but if you have any true pain, you should notify your dentist immediately. So, now that your tooth has been rid of any disease or infection, you will be ready to get a crown in a few weeks.

 

What is a Dental Crown?

 

A dental crown is a permanently attached structure that is cemented to your tooth, or to a dental implant. It is used to completely cover either a damaged tooth, or a tooth that is misshapen or discolored. The reason it is used after a root canal is to protect the tooth and give it strength and stability.

 

Before a crown can be cemented into your mouth, your existing tooth has to be reduced in size with a drill, by your dentist. Next, an impression of soft material will be taken, so that a mold can be made. The products of the impression will then be sent to a lab so that your crown can be made to your dentist’s specifications. A temporary crown will be placed on your tooth until the permanent crown can be put in. Once the final crown is received, and cemented into your mouth, it is permanent and can only be removed by a dentist. This is also true of crowns placed on dental implants, except of course; the implant will not need to be reduced in size before the crown is placed.

 

There are a number of different materials that a crown can be made of, depending on the location and the function of the crown. For instance, porcelain or ceramic crowns can be made to match the color of your teeth, are the most natural looking, and are best for your front teeth. However, gold and other metals are stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for teeth that are in the back and not in plain view.  It is important to discuss your options and the recommendations by your dentist before the crown is ordered from the lab.

 

So, while a root canal is only used to address a dental problem, crowns are not only indicated to cover the tooth that has had the root canal, but are also used for a number of other reasons. They can be used to cover a tooth that has been weakened from a fracture, or one that has a very large filling in it. It can also be used to cover a dental implant or to fix a fractured tooth. Sometimes a bridge (which is a complete replacement of a missing tooth) can be attached to a crown to fill a gap. And finally, crowns can be used for purely cosmetic reasons, to improve the look of a misshapen or a discolored tooth.

 

How Should I Care for My Teeth After Either Procedure?

 

Crowns should last a lifetime, although sometimes the cement loosens and it may come out. If this happens, you can try to reattach the crown using toothpaste or denture glue, but notify your dentist immediately so that it can be reattached with permanent cement as soon as possible.  Care for your crown should include good oral hygiene to prevent decay, and the avoidance of eating hard foods like ice or candy that might cause damage.

 

After a root canal, good oral hygiene is key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong. This includes brushing and flossing daily, as well as cleanings and dental check-ups at least every six-months. The root canal should fix the problem at hand, but that doesn’t mean you will never have an issue with that tooth again. In some cases, root canals may need to be repeated, even years later. So, see your dentist regularly and contact them if you experience any new pain.

 

If you have any more questions about root canals or crowns, or have any other dental concerns, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online. We are here to meet all of your dental needs.

 


The Health Benefits of Implants Versus Dentures
The Health Benefits of Implants Versus Dentures

The Benefits of Implants Versus Dentures

Trying to decide whether to go with dentures or implants can be a daunting task, and many times the decision comes down to both time and money. However, the often overlooked but perhaps most important factor on deciding between implants or dentures is health.  You see, when a tooth has been removed or lost, there is a gap between the remaining teeth.

If left untreated, missing teeth can lead to tooth shifting, gum deterioration and can even alter the shape of the face, over time. As the natural teeth shift in position, a person will likely develop bite alignment problems or noticeable gaps. What dental implants do for the health of the mouth:

·        Dental implants act as natural teeth – Dental implants actually take the place of missing teeth and function the same way. Since they are placed in the gap the natural tooth was in, this makes them more stable and the look is more natural as it feels, fits, and functions as if it were the tooth it was replacing.

·         Implants retain your natural smile and overall face shape – Missing teeth can be the start of the face changing shape. Teeth actually keep the shape of the jaw, when missing, the face can start to sag and appear sunken.

·         Healthy bone – Empty spaces in the mouth can also lead to other health issues such as bone loss and deterioration of the jaw. The jawbone can lose its strength and firmness if left untreated.

·         Protect your healthy teeth – Not only can bone deteriorate if the gap in teeth are left empty, but the gums deteriorate as well. This can have an adverse reaction on the health of the remaining teeth. Teeth simply cannot stay healthy if the gums are bad.

·         Strengthens the jaw bone – Over time, the jaw bone will eventually build up around the implant, making it stronger and reinforcing the area that was once weak.

·         Dental implants do not have the side effect that plague denture wearers – increased saliva and mild irritation or soreness.

The good news is that with advanced dental implant technology, more and more patients have the option of choosing dental implants over dentures. Now, more than ever, dental implants are more affordable. While not everyone is a candidate for dental implants, it is worth talking to your dentist about your options.

At El Portal Dental Group, we are experts in all areas of dentistry – including dental implants. If you, or a loved one is in need of exceptional dental care, or to learn if dental implants are for you, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online