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


5 Tips for the Best Oral Health You've Ever Had in 2017
5 Tips for the Best Oral Health You've Ever Had in 2017

With 2017 quickly approaching, you may be writing a list of New Year’s resolutions. Starting on a healthier path always seems to top the list. While diet and exercise are great ways to improve your health, why not make a resolution to improve your oral health as well?

Here are 5 tips for having the best oral health in 2017.

1. Monitor fluoride use. It is important to use enough – but not too much – fluoride. It’s biggest role in protecting your teeth is to strengthen enamel, making your teeth less likely to decay. A large majority of American drinking water is fluoridated. However, if your water does not contain fluoride, talk to your dentist about prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste and rinses or special fluoride applications.

2. Chew gum if you can’t brush. While it is best to brush your teeth after every meal, sometimes it just isn’t convenient to do so. In these instances, chewing sugar-free gum can help increase the amount of saliva in your mouth, which helps to neutralize acid and wash away harmful tooth decay-causing bacteria.

3. Change your tooth brush every 3 months and after illnesses. After just a few months of use, the bristles can become worn and dull, leaving your toothbrush unable to effectively clean your teeth the way it did when you first started using it. Additionally, studies show that toothbrushes can contain up to 10 million bacteria at any given time, and even more when you are sick. Remember to replace your toothbrush regularly, especially after each bout of illness to prevent reinfection.  

4. Clean your tongue. Due to the rough surface of your tongue, bacteria thrives and abounds on it.  Using a professional tongue cleaner helps rid the tongue of bacteria, which in turn leads to fresher breath and a healthier mouth.

5. Make and keep your bi-annual dental cleanings. This one should really go without saying, but the importance of visiting your dentist regularly cannot be emphasized enough. In addition to the obvious benefits of a good dental cleaning, routine exams can also be good for your overall health. Early signs of oral cancer and diabetes can be detected during a routine dental exam. We’ll also check for any issues that may cause decay in the future: gingivitis, teeth grinding, and dry mouth.  Early detection and intervention can help save your teeth from these damaging effects.

Whether you haven’t been to the dentist in years, or just want more information on keeping your teeth and mouth healthy, El Portal Dental Group in Merced is available to help. Offering general, cosmetic, orthodontic, and emergency dentistry, we are dedicated to helping you to achieve a sense of well-being by enhancing your oral health and appearance. For more information or to make an appointment, call the office today at (209) 385-1479 or schedule your dental exam online.



Tooth Pain: When is it an Emergency?
Tooth Pain: When is it an Emergency?

It’s no secret why babies are often cranky while going through the teething phase. Tooth pain is quite miserable, no matter how old (or young) you are! 

If you’ve ever experienced tooth pain, whether suddenly from an accident or something gradual, you may have questioned whether or not your tooth pain was severe enough to be considered an emergency.

Some dental issues are purely cosmetic, such as a chipped tooth. If there is minimal pain and no other symptoms of trauma (bleeding gums, fractured facial bone), then your chipped tooth would not qualify as an emergency (It is, however, important to contact us for an appointment so that action can be taken to preserve the look of your smile). With that said, if your tooth is broken more than a small chip and you are experiencing severe pain, that’s an emergency.

In contrast, tooth pain requiring emergency dentistry would include any tooth pain caused by an abscessed tooth, or an infected tooth. A dental abscess often results from cavities that were left untreated. Only a dentist can treat an abscess by draining the pus and treating the infected tooth. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other areas of the body and can cause vomiting, fever, and a general feeling of being unwell. In rare but serious cases, the swelling caused by the infection can be so severe it can block the airway, making it difficult to breathe.

Another instance that requires emergency dentistry is when you experience trauma to the mouth, in which a tooth or multiple teeth have been knocked out or severely loosened. In order to try and preserve the tooth, it is important to see a dentist immediately.  

Any time your tooth causes sudden, extreme and severe pain, emergency dentistry is needed. According to a study by the American Dental Association, severe tooth pain contributed to 2.2 million emergency room visits in 2012. Going straight to a dentist who provides emergency dentistry can not only save you time, but money as well.

In general, if you have the following symptoms along with tooth pain, you should call to see if you need emergency care:

  • Bleeding
  • Bulges (abscesses) in your gums
  • Fever
  • Swelling in your mouth or facial area

Whether or not your pain is an emergency, an oral exam will help determine how to best treat your tooth pain, as well as address health concerns that could cause pain in the future. At our preventive dentistry practice here in Merced, we believe the best way to avoid tooth pain is through regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Need an emergency dentist in Merced? Please give us a call at (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online for a comprehensive oral exam and tooth pain treatment.


Choosing an Orthodontist in Merced
Choosing an Orthodontist in Merced

Does your child have perfectly straight teeth? Then there’s no need for an orthodontist, right? Well actually, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends everyone schedule an orthodontic appointment by the age of 7 to check for issues with the jaw such as overbites. Most people, however, will visit an orthodontist to correct the misalignment of teeth.

Whether braces are needed for a cosmetic or functional purpose, investing in braces for yourself or for your child is an important decision. The success of your orthodontic treatment is dependent upon your commitment to your orthodontic treatment plan. Finding an orthodontist who you can trust and with whom you are comfortable is important to keeping you committed and on track.

Over the course of orthodontic treatment, usually around 2 years, you will need to visit your orthodontist about every 6 weeks. For this reason, it is important to find a Merced orthodontist with a convenient location, as well as one that can work within your schedule. Orthodontists with early and late hours, as well as Saturday appointments offer the most flexibility for their patients. This allows for less missed visits and less time away from school or work.

Whether you’re considering adult braces or braces for your child, your investment into your beautiful new smile should be a wise one. Look for a board-certified orthodontist to ensure they are highly qualified for the best possible treatment outcome. Board certification by the American Board of Orthodontics means that your doctor has graduated from dental school, as well as completed an advanced orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic residency. After completing advanced educational training, the orthodontist must then demonstrate their skill and knowledge to obtain certification.

Orthodontic emergencies can and do happen, whether it’s loose brackets or protruding wires. Many such emergencies are due to sports-related traumas to the face or mouth. Be sure to find an orthodontist who offers an on-call service for emergencies, as it’s very important to see your orthodontist immediately after an emergency to prevent further injury and pain.

Just because you have braces does not mean that your normal dental check-ups stop. Regular 6-month exams should continue throughout your treatment. To save you time, find an orthodontist who is part of a dental group where general dentistry is offered at the same location. Being able to go directly from your dentist to your orthodontist in one visit can save you valuable time while ensuring you are taking care of all your oral health needs.

Our Merced dental office offers extended weeknight and Saturday hours, emergency dental care, and the convenience of a one-stop shop with general dentistry housed in the same location as orthodontics. Initial orthodontic consultations are provided free of charge. Call us for an orthodontic consultation today at (209) 385-1479 or make an appointment online. 


Top 3 Dental Recommendations to Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted
Top 3 Dental Recommendations to Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted

Are you doing everything you ought to, and find that you’re still dissatisfied with your smile? You brush twice a day, you floss, you gargle with mouthwash, and yet your pearly whites just don’t seem to shine like they should.

So what should you do? Take it from our dental hygienists and cosmetic dentists in Merced that these top three recommendations will have you grinning from ear to ear, proudly showing off your gorgeous smile.

  1. Teeth whitening is a safe and super easy way to literally brighten your smile – several shades whiter. We offer both in-office procedures with our experienced and highly educated dentists, Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Regalado, as well as simple and convenient take home kits. Our in-office Sapphire teeth whitening system uses a bleaching technique with professional-grade teeth whitening gel along with a very powerful light to bleach stained teeth for a whiter smile in minutes. Our at-home Contrast PM teeth whitening gel kit conveniently comes with custom-fit trays that perfectly fit around your teeth to hold a mild whitening gel in place. This process takes just 7 to 10 days for a noticeably whiter smile.
  2. Porcelain veneers are a great option for improving the look and strength of damaged, chipped, or misaligned teeth. Veneers are thin artificial coverings that are applied to the outside of your teeth. They look and feel natural and can also greatly improve the resistance of your natural teeth to further damage and decay. During a simple office procedure, the veneers are adhered to your teeth using a light beam to harden the bonding agent. When you leave our dental office, you can immediately feel confident in your improved smile.
  3. ClearCorrect is a great alternative to adult braces for crooked teeth. ClearCorrect aligners apply pressure to misaligned teeth to push them into their appropriate positions. Since you must wear your aligners for at least 22 hours every day until the treatment is completed, they are made to be very comfortable to wear. Our Merced orthodontist, conveniently located within the same building as our family dentists, will take impressions of your teeth. Once they are sent off to ClearCorrect labs, they will be used as the model for the construction of your new invisible aligners. Due to inevitable and welcomed changes to the positioning of your teeth after wear, they will need to be changed out every two or so weeks with new ones using your latest impressions.

Our expert in the field of orthodontics and ClearCorrect treatment, Dr. Khang Nguyen, actively researches the latest technology on the market in progressive orthodontics to continue providing you with the best techniques available. Even if you are not comfortable smiling in public right now, see how you feel after watching the transformation of your teeth into beautiful pearly whites with these three recommended procedures.

It’s time for you to get the smile you’ve always wanted. Contact the El Portal Dental Group office by calling (209) 385-1479, or request an appointment online today.