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


Is Dental Insurance Worth the Cost?
Is Dental Insurance Worth the Cost?

It can be difficult to remember just how important it is to take good care of your teeth. You constantly use them every day, for both eating and talking, so it’s important to prepare for the worst should something happen to them. Dental insurance is a great plan to have in place, and the premiums are often affordable enough. When compared to the high costs of dental procedures, the logic that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings true.

With open enrollment beginning next Tuesday, November 1st, it’s time to take a look at your current plan and weigh the benefits of having dental insurance. Typically, dental insurance is worth the cost when it comes to larger surgical procedures such as crowns, bridges, inlays, dentures, or root canals.

Just like with medical or vision insurance, you buy dental insurance to prepare for accidents or illnesses that might have become financially detrimental if you hadn’t prepared in advance.

Approximately 64% of Americans have dental insurance, and nearly all of them are provided through workplaces or group plans. Going through your workplace or a group plan is a great way to keep the cost of insurance down, whether medical, vision, or dental.

If you have a set of strong, healthy teeth, maybe you only ever see Dr. Nguyen, Dr. Regalado, or Dr. Hunt once annually for a checkup and cleaning. In that case, you may not need to worry about preparing for the worst. However, some teeth are more prone to disease and other issues. In these cases, it is better to have more frequent checkups so your dentist is likely to catch issues in their early stages. By having dental insurance, you'll be prepared for costly procedures by having insurance. 

Typically, the most advertised feature of a dental insurance plan is its focus on providing free preventative and diagnostic care. Most often, it provides recipients with one or two free annual exams and cleanings and will also cover the cost of X-rays.

Aside from these free benefits, your insurance will usually cover 70 to 80% of the cost of basic procedures, such as fillings, extractions, office visits, and periodontal treatments. Major procedures, such as dentures or implants, are usually covered up to 50%. Similar to medical insurance, however, your dental insurance will not cover cosmetic procedures or surgeries.

Basically, you will most likely save money having insurance as long as you remember to take advantage of the savings offered. So don’t forget to schedule your two annual cleanings with our amazing team of dentists and hygienists!

Open enrollment is just a few days away. Now is the time to review your current plan if you have one and choose a new dental insurance plan before January 31st. 

Remember, your dental benefits do not roll over, so if you haven’t yet taken advantage of your plan’s preventative care, make sure you schedule your next cleaning as soon as possible. Request an appointment online, or call (209) 385-1479 to schedule today. 


Why Dental Implants May Be the Best Solution
Why Dental Implants May Be the Best Solution

From root canals and crowns to bridgework and dentures, there are many different solutions for damaged or missing teeth. Dental Implants are proving to be the best solution to restoring your smile and quality of life.

Unlike other traditional tooth replacement devices, dental implants use titanium anchors that are placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. The bone then bonds with the titanium and a post is inserted into the anchor. Lastly, an artificial tooth is attached to the post. 

This tooth acts just like your regular teeth, allowing you to chew and eat the same foods you would with your natural teeth. While proper brushing, flossing and dental checkups twice a year are still required to keep your oral health in check, you don’t have to worry about the risk of cavities with dental implants.

Because of their durability and strength, dental implants are made to last. Traditional solutions for missing or damaged teeth like bridges, crowns, and dentures are not able to withstand a lifetime of use. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime with only a few adjustments from time to time. 

Missing teeth is not just a cosmetic issue but a health issue as well. If you leave empty spaces in your mouth long enough, it can cause the loss or deterioration of some of your jawbone. The jawbone’s job is to support teeth and when not being used in such a way, it will start to weaken. Dental implants are the only solution that helps to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.

If you have ever had a bridge, you know that it is not just the bad or missing tooth that is impacted.  The good teeth on either side are also impacted.  It requires grinding those good teeth so that the bridge can be attached to them for support. With dental implants, only the missing tooth is impacted, leaving other healthy teeth intact.

Most importantly, you can feel confident knowing that when you are out in public you can eat what you want, talk, and laugh without the worry of your implant loosening or falling out. 

Are you a good candidate for dental implants?  Call (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online today. Dr. Nguyen, Dr. Regalado, and Dr. Hunt are waiting to help restore your smile and your quality of life.



Dental Insurance – Use It or Lose It
Dental Insurance – Use It or Lose It

Do you have dental insurance for yourself or your family? Did you know that if you don’t use your benefits by the end of the year you will lose some of the money saving aspects, even if you stay on the same plan? Unlike data on cell phone plans, there is no “rollover” in the insurance industry when it comes to benefits – you use them or lose them at the end of the year. (And the same holds true for any type of health insurance, whether it be dental, vision, or general health insurance.)

Why would you spend your hard-earned money on insurance and not take full advantage of your benefits? Since the end of the year is quickly approaching, now is a great time to schedule a dental exam if you haven’t already exceeded the limit allowed on your dental policy.

It is important to get at least one dental exam per year for many reasons. Regular exams can help prevent cavities and catch early problems before the damage becomes irreversible. Exams and cleanings help to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent gum disease and other conditions, and they also help to detect oral cancers in the earlier stages.

Many other services are often covered under your dental plan in addition to your checkups and cleanings. Once you’ve reached your deductible, some services, such as a necessary root canal or crowns, may be covered at 100% so you don’t have any out-of-pocket costs. After your insurance lapses, however, you lose that 100% benefit, resetting your deductible.

Open enrollment for health and dental insurance begins November 1, 2016. If you don’t currently have dental insurance or are unhappy with your current plan, the open enrollment period is a great time to choose a new plan with benefits that suit your needs. After open enrollment ends, your insurance options are drastically limited, so don’t wait!

Take advantage of your coverage and get the most out of your healthcare dollar by scheduling an exam with one of our amazing dental health professionals. Call (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online today. We’d love to help you improve your smile while maximizing your savings.



Are You Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth Correctly?
Are You Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth Correctly?

You may wonder if the energy and effort it takes to brush your toddler’s teeth is worth it; after all, they’re going to loose them anyway. However, brushing and flossing your child’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do to prevent tooth decay and cavities, both now and in the future.

Cavities can cause your toddler to loose teeth prematurely, and early loss of baby teeth can have big consequences. Temporary teeth are not just needed to chew food – they influence the way a child learns to talk. Also, baby teeth hold a place for the permanent teeth. When a tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth under it can shift, causing spacing issues when the permanent teeth arrive. These issues could lead to more costly procedures for straightening and alignment.

Brushing your toddler’s teeth twice a day will help form a habit that your child will carry with them into adulthood. It is important to make sure their teeth are being brushed properly and that they learn how to brush them well.

Step 1: Use a Child-Sized Toothbrush.

It may not seem necessary, but smaller toothbrushes prevent discomfort and make it easier to reach the back teeth in your child’s mouth. The bristles should have a rounded edge and be varied in length. Don’t forget, toothbrushes should be changed once every three months or when the bristles start to spread (this can happen sooner with toddlers who like to bite the brush). We offer small toothbrushes to fit your child’s mouth perfectly and will send one home with them after each cleaning. 

Step 2: Add the Appropriate Amount of Toothpaste.

The amount of toothpaste you should use depends on the age of your child. Those younger than 3 should use an amount about the size of a grain of rice. Children 4 and up can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Step 3: Brush Each Surface.

Hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle and brush the outer surfaces of the teeth by using short back and forth strokes. To brush the inside surface of the teeth, hold the toothbrush as vertically as possible and brush up and down. Don’t forget to brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth, as well as their tongue. Brushing the tongue helps to eliminate harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Step 4: Rinse and Spit.

Try to avoid spitting while in the middle of brushing, since this can remove toothpaste before you have a chance to get it onto all of their teeth. Once you are finished with every surface, they can rinse and spit.

EXTRA TIP: Many parents find it easier to stand behind their child while brushing. This allows for more natural movement, as if you were brushing your own teeth.

Oral health is extremely important, and getting your children into the routine of brushing their teeth properly as well as regular dental exams sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child see a dentist after their first tooth, or by their first birthday to help get a jumpstart on proper oral care. El Portal Dental Group offers state-of-the-art professional dental treatment for your child, as well as the rest of your family. Call us today at (209) 385-1479, or use our convenient online appointment scheduler.