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


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

 

 


The Proper Way to Care for Your Dentures
The Proper Way to Care for Your Dentures

Dentures are a great option for those with badly damaged, worn down or missing teeth. Good dentures can dramatically improve your appearance, while enhancing your overall quality of life. With strong, lovely dentures you can smile broadly, enjoy eating all your favorite foods without worry, and speak clearly. Dentures can last a lifetime with the right care. That’s why we created this handy guide to help you understand the proper way to care for your dentures.

Proper Denture Care

Although caring for your dentures is simple, it is also very important. The first thing to know is that even though dentures are incredibly strong and can stand up to the immense pressure of chewing, they can still break if handled roughly. Make sure you always handle your dentures carefully.

Cleaning your dentures is simple. Carefully brush them to remove food particles which can easily stick to the surfaces of dentures. Food particles and plaque can irritate or cause infections in the soft tissues of your mouth. Besides discomfort, excess food particles can begin to become rancid in a matter of hours, causing unpleasant breath, as well as discomfort in your mouth. Be sure to clean dentures your thoroughly after meals. And don’t forget to rinse out and clean the inside of your mouth too.

Always be careful not let your dentures dry out, because this can cause them to warp, making them less comfortable, or even unwearable. When you have removed them, be sure to gently clean them and then place them into a wet solution of denture cleanser, or in water. You can also use a soaking tablet to help clean your dentures and kill harmful bacteria.

Dentures also have micro pores, which can be exploited by microscopic bacteria. Placing them in a cleaning solution can help prevent bacteria from building up on your dentures. Make sure to follow the label instructions carefully so that the solution is just the right balance to protect your dentures. Additionally, do not place dentures in boiling or hot water. This can damage the dentures. Remember to take your dentures out when you sleep, as this helps maintain a healthy mouth.  

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


Top Five Things to Ask Your Dentist About Veneers
Top Five Things to Ask Your Dentist About Veneers

Cosmetic dentistry has never been more affordable, allowing more and more people to achieve the ideal smile they have always wanted. Even if you have worn down, cracked, chipped, unevenly spaced, or otherwise unappealing teeth, you may be able to achieve stunning results with porcelain veneers. They may not be right for everyone, though. If you are considering getting porcelain veneers, be sure to ask your dentist these five things before making your decision.

At El Portal Dental, our dedicated dentists are experts in all areas of their craft, including restorative and cosmetic dentistry. They understand that an informed patient is an empowered patient. That’s why our dentists take the time to sit down with you, answer all of your questions and create a plan fits your specific needs. (And one that fits within your budget, too!)

Top Five Questions About Porcelain Veneers

1. The first thing you need to know is how veneers fit onto your teeth. In order to permanently bond the veneers to your teeth, a very small amount of dental material will need to be removed. If your teeth are overly sensitive, this procedure may not be right for you. Our dental experts will evaluate your teeth and determine if veneers are a suitable option for you.

2. The next concern you may need to discuss is that porcelain veneers are permanent. The procedure cannot be reversed. Each veneer must be carefully placed an evaluated before bonding. The good news is that veneers are lovely and natural looking because of the way they capture the light. They are durable, customizable, and hide unsightly cracks, blemishes, and gaps in your teeth.

3. Before using veneers, you should ask about any ongoing care. How long do they last? What kind of special care, if any, do they require? Many people, for example, wonder if veneers are stain resistant. They are. Porcelain veneers can stand up to most everyday stain makers like coffee, tea and wine.

4. How long does the process take? Most veneers can be placed in as little as two visits. Your dentist will discuss any potential issues, as well as explain the exact steps required for placement of your new veneers. Some patients do require more preparation than others, such as trimming the teeth down in order fit them perfectly.

5. Lastly, you should ask about any other procedures that might be a better fit than, or could be used in conjunction with, porcelain veneers. The truth is that your needs and smile goals are unique. What works for one patient, may not be right for another. Our skilled and caring dentists can explain the exact reasons they do, or do not, recommend porcelain veneers for you. As caring and highly skilled cosmetic dentists, we work to create positive dental experiences that truly meet your specific needs.

If you, or a loved are interested in porcelain veneers, or to learn more about any other advanced dental procedures, or to make a personalized appointment, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online


All About Porcelain Veneers
All About Porcelain Veneers

Have you ever passed by your reflection and noticed a less than perfect smile? How did it make you feel? If the answer is not a happy or positive feeling, porcelain veneers may be the cosmetic dental option you have been looking for. Getting porcelain veneers is like getting a face-lift for your smile. Porcelain veneers, also called dental porcelain laminates, are extremely thin shells, about the thickness of a fingernail. The veneers are designed to be permanently bonded to your own natural teeth, and can instantly transform and improve your smile.

Because of the unique mineral makeup of porcelain and composite veneers, they reflect the light in much the same way that natural healthy tooth enamel does. Porcelain is also extremely strong and durable, comparable to the strength of your own naturally occurring teeth. Patients with porcelain veneers can smile, laugh, and chew without worry because they look, and function like natural teeth.

All About Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers act like a covering, hiding worn down and less than perfect teeth in the same way adding brand new siding can improve the outward appearance of an older home. However, this procedure may not be right for everyone. In order to create a solid bond, a tiny amount of enamel must be removed. This is usually slightly less than one millimeter, but for some patients, it is enough to create tooth sensitivity.

Patients who are free of gum disease, and have overall good oral health (with no ongoing dental decay) often make good candidates for porcelain veneers. If you have any of the following dental issues, porcelain veneers may be right for you:

·      Mild to moderate misalignment of your teeth

·      Worn down teeth

·      Yellowed, discolored or stained teeth

·      Chipped or cracked teeth

·      Misshapen teeth, or teeth with uneven surfaces caused by bulges or craters

·      Gaps between teeth

Only a qualified cosmetic dentist can evaluate your tooth structure to determine if porcelain veneers, or a more conservative approach, are right for you. Our highly trained dentists have the skills, training, and experience to advise you about all your cosmetic dental options.

Porcelain veneers offer a chip and stain resistant, natural looking, permanent solution for patients who want a luminous and lovely smile. If you, or a loved one needs a smile makeover in the Merced, California area, we are here to help. Our friendly staff are fluent in Spanish, English, and Vietnamese. call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online. Come and discover what makes us different at El Portal Dental Group.


The Complete Guide to Root Canals
The Complete Guide to Root Canals

Dental anxiety is very common, especially if you are already in pain. And it doesn’t help when you think about the sounds of drilling that you associate with serious dental work. Have you ever been to the dentist and you get the bad news that you need a root canal? Perhaps it’s the name that scares people, or the guilty fear of what happens when we don’t take care of our teeth properly. Well, don’t fret. A root canal is one of the most well-practiced dental procedures, and your dentist will keep you pain free, and have you done in no time. Sometimes, just being more informed can ease your nerves.

What is a Root Canal?

Once your teeth are fully developed, the pulp is no longer needed inside your teeth. The pulp in your teeth is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue to help your teeth grow. However, sometimes this pulp stays in your teeth for a long time, and can lead to a painful infection. If left untreated without a root canal, not only will pain persist, you can lose your tooth.

The root canal procedure takes around 30-90 minutes depending on the severity of the root canal and the person’s mouth. In some cases where pain and infection are present, your dentist may be able to prescribe antibiotics and pain medication. The procedure is done as follows:

  1.  A local anesthetic will be applied to the nerves that lead to the tooth
  2. A rubber suction will be placed around the tooth to keep the area clean during the treatment
  3. A small hole will be drilled into the tooth
  4. The infected pulp will be removed
  5. The root canal space is disinfected

6.     The endodontist will then fill the root canal space with a biocompatible material called Gutta Percha. The access cavity will be covered with a temporary material, and will be assessed for permanent restoration

You may be a candidate for a root canal if:

  •      You’re experiencing sensitive teeth for a prolonged period (hot and cold)
  •       Your gums and jaw are painful and swollen
  •      Your jaw and tooth hurts
  •      You have a fractured or cracked tooth

A root canal will not only relieve your pain, and in most cases the procedure itself is relatively painless. The procedure is not what it used to be, so if you have reservations make sure to talk to your dentist.

If you’re experiencing dental pain, or it’s just time to schedule your next checkup, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 to request an appointment, or request one online.


Veneers: a Facelift without Surgery
Veneers: a Facelift without Surgery

Your smile is one of your most important features, a defining trait that is often the first thing people notice about you. There is an old saying that goes, “You are never fully dressed without a smile.” This rings true, as a great smile can say a lot about someone.  From subtle changes to major repairs, your cosmetic dentist can perform a variety of procedures to improve your smile. There are many techniques and options available to treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshapen or missing. You ask, how much of a difference can a nice set of teeth really make? The answer ultimately depends on how you feel, but it is often a huge difference.

Veneers are known as the non-surgical facelift, as they can make someone look younger without going under the knife. Veneers can not only help improve your smile, but the overall look of your face. In other words, veneers can make you appear younger aesthetically.

Veneers are thin shells of ceramic (porcelain) material, which are bonded to the front of your teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth and to improve your smile.

While many people consider porcelain veneers to hide stained, broken, chipped, or missing teeth, porcelain veneers are more than just brightening your smile. They provide a much more traditional approach to changing a tooth's color, size, or shape. Veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as teeth staining, and damage due to an injury. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable long-term results – for a beautiful smile that you have always desired.

Porcelain Veneers are becoming more popular, because of their accessibility, affordability, and the fact that they can change someone’s appearance for the better. If you would rather avoid surgery, porcelain veneers may be right for you. A dental exam will help determine if veneers are right for you, as well as if there are any underlying dental conditions that should be treated before veneers are applied.

To learn more about porcelain veneers and if you may be a candidate, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 to request an appointment. 


Is Invisalign Right for Me?
Is Invisalign Right for Me?

How do you really feel about your teeth? Are you concerned that they are too crowded, have gaps or simply do not align? Have you considered braces or wondered if Invisalign is right for you? To help you make an informed decision, we have created this short, helpful guide for deciding if Invisalign is the ideal solution for your smile.

What is the Invisalign System?

Invisalign is a revolutionary system that gently and gradually straightens your teeth over time. Made from a strong molded thermoplastic material that precisely fit your teeth, Invisalign aligners are designed to comfortably correct your teeth with exactly the amount of force and direction required to safely move them to their correct position.

The process beings with a customized 3D scan that picks up the exact shape and size of your teeth. Working with a sophisticated dental computer program, aligners are generated in succession, so that roughly every two weeks you change to another set.

Basically, each set of aligners is created to change the alignment in a planned progression until the desired result is achieved. The length of time required to correct your smile varies, depending on the severity of each individual case. Typically, it takes between 8-12 months to align your smile. You may, for instance, require as few as 12 alignment trays or as many as 48. Each patient is different and the dentist will advise you about your particular needs during your consultation.

Aligners are made to be easily removed. In fact, you need to remove them before eating or drinking anything (except for clear water). You should also floss and brush after meals and snacks before replacing the aligners. We encourage our patients to avoid smoking with the aligners as it can discolor them. Besides that, smoking is harmful to teeth and your overall health.

Invisalign Braces Benefits:

·      Predictable, controlled, gentle tooth relocation

·      No discomfort from metal braces or wires

·      Easily removable for activities, eating and cleaning

·      Virtually invisible

·      Boost self esteem

·      Blue indicator dots can help teenagers comply

·      Covered by many orthodontic plans

Only a qualified dentist can determine if Invisalign braces are right for you. At El Portal Dental Group, we understand how valuable your smile really is. We offer the most advanced treatments at a price you can afford. Our caring staff is fully qualified to handle all of your orthodontic and dental needs.

If you, or a loved one is considering the Invisalign system, or to learn more about any of our sophisticated dental services, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online


Does Teeth Whitening Actually Work?
Does Teeth Whitening Actually Work?

You may not know it, but as hard as our teeth are, they are still porous to some degree, which means that they can naturally pick up stains from food and beverages like wine, coffee, soy sauce and berries. Besides which, teeth, like anything else, can and do often begin to show signs of wear with age. This can easily lead to staining, with the teeth becoming darker or yellowing over time. Smoking, which deposits tars and other chemical smoking related residues, can also discolor and stain teeth.  On top of that, enamel thins as we age, which allows the underlying more yellowish-tinged dentin to dominate the tooth color. Which bring us to the question…does teeth whitening actually work? The answer is a very happy yes.

Do Teeth Whitening Systems Work?

There are actually professional grade tooth whitening gels that are very effective in restoring the lovely white smile you may have started to miss. Professional teeth whitening systems are designed to safely clear away stains, removing layers of dull or yellowed stains, creating dramatically whiter smiles.

Budget conscious consumers sometimes choose less effective, over-the-counter teeth whitening systems (such as whitening strips or paint on applicators) in an effort to save a few coins. The only problem is that not only are those systems less effective, they can actually increase your teeth sensitivity, making you wince when you drink a cold beverage on a hot day. Even when they do not cause tooth sensitivity, over-the-counter teeth whitening systems tend to deliver inconsistent results.

Teeth whitening treatments provided by your dentist are stronger than what you can buy over the counter. Your dentist can provide you with specific instructions alongside a safe and effective take home professional whitening gel treatment. Or you can have your dentist apply a professional dental product such as the Sapphire In-office Teeth Whitening System, which whitens your teeth in less than an hour.

Advantages of a Professional Teeth Whitening Systems

·      Safer and professionally administered

·      More consistent results

·      Stronger and more effective products

·      Reduced risk of teeth damage or increased sensitivity

When it comes to the health of your smile, spending a little more is worth it. We offer both in-office and professionally made dental gel trays to safely and effectively whiten and brighten your smile. Don’t risk your teeth with anything less than professional grade, dentist dispensed or applied teeth whitening systems that actually work.

If you, or a loved one needs teeth whitening, or to learn more about our advanced dental whitening systems, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online. Today. 


Your Dental Crown Procedure: What to Expect
Your Dental Crown Procedure: What to Expect

The dental crown procedure is one of the most common procedures practiced by dentists. The biggest reason is that it is often the best way to prevent the total loss of a tooth. If, for instance, it hurts when you bite down, you may have a cracked tooth, which may be able to save the tooth. (If the crack is large enough and extends below the gumline, you may also require a root canal along with the crown to save your tooth. There are several other reasons that a patient may choose to get a dental crown, ranging from aesthetic reasons to medical ones. That’s why we compiled with helpful guide to help you know what to expect from a dental crown procedure.

What is a dental crown?

Put simply, a dental crown is a small custom-made cap that fits over a tooth. Crowns may be made from porcelain, metal, resident, or other materials, depending on the reason for the application. Common reasons for the application of dental crowns are:

·       to cover a cavity that is too big to fill

·       to make a bridge that covers a missing tooth

·       to enhance the appearance of your smile, such as by covering a discolored tooth

How is the dental crown procedure performed?

The process of applying a dental crown is often split up into two visits to the dentist’s office. During the first visit, the dentist will inspect the area which the crown is supposed to cover, in order to make sure that it can support the crown. The dentist may also either file down, fill in the tooth, or shave the tooth down in preparation for the crown. (Anesthetic will be used during this part of the procedure.

After the area has been properly prepared, the dentist will take an impression the tooth which will then be sent off to make the crown itself. The dentist will also note the color, carefully matching it to the exact shade of your own natural teeth for a flawless dental crown.

The corn will be custom milled based on the impression, the material your dentist has selected and the specific shading required. Once this permanent crown is ready, you will be ready for the second half of this process. Your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to last until you come back in for the final fitting of your new dental crown.

On the next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown, and put the permanent crown in its place. Overall, used experience very minimal pain associated with this process, though some patients do report an uncomfortable feeling with the temporary crown. It should be noted that this is comfort is often not present with the permanent crown, as the permanent crown was molded especially for your mouth.

If you, or a loved one needs a crown or any other advanced dental care, call Dr. Nguyen to create the most visually pleasing, natural looking and vibrant smile you have always wanted. Call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online.