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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 to Expect After Teeth Whitening
What to Expect After Teeth Whitening

Over time, our teeth can become discolored and stained. Tooth discoloration can be caused by a combination of factors, such as food, medication, smoking, and age.  Professional teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to remove stains from your teeth and to brighten your smile.  In fact, teeth whitening when performed by a dental professional carries very few risks and side effects. If you are considering teeth whitening, here’s some more things you can expect in addition to a great smile.

What can I expect after treatment?

You may experience increased sensitivity for 1-2 days following your whitening procedure.  This discomfort is due to the active ingredient in teeth whitening, hydrogen peroxide; and is mild and temporary. For most patients, this sensitivity is easily managed by avoiding hot or cold food and drinks, or by taking over-the-counter pain medication. If you have sensitive teeth prior to treatment, you are more likely to experience discomfort after the procedure. If you’re concerned about discomfort, you may consider your dentist’s take-home whitening treatment, as it contains less hydrogen peroxide. 

Additionally, your gums may appear slightly discolored or may sting for a few hours after treatment, but there is no need for alarm. This discomfort will dissipate shortly and you should be fully healed in 1-2 days following treatment.

Too much bleaching.

As you can see, teeth whitening is safe and poses few, if any, risks, as long as it is performed or prescribed by a board-certified dentist.  However, it may be possible to have too much of a good thing.  People who have too many consecutive whitening treatments are at risk of over-bleaching. Over-bleaching is when a person overexposes their teeth to the hydrogen peroxide in whitening gel.  Over-bleaching can cause the outer layers of your enamel to wear away, which can leave the dentin and soft inner tissues exposed and vulnerable. This over-exposure can lead to lasting sensitivity.  It can actually lead to permanent discoloration, as dentin is naturally darker than tooth enamel. Because the dentin and soft tissues are exposed, you are left vulnerable to injury or disease.  Over-exposure may eventually require you to get permanent protection for your teeth using porcelain veneers or crowns. If you’ve done teeth whitening in the recent past, speak to your dentist to determine if enough time has passed before doing another treatment.

Is teeth whitening right for me?

Teeth whitening is most effective on surface stains, which are normally the result of food, drinks, or tobacco.  Deeper stains, caused by medication usage or injury, can be more difficult to remove. Your dentist will evaluate you to see if teeth whitening is a good treatment option.  If not, alternative options such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers are available. If you already have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, be aware that they may not be as responsive to whitening treatment as your natural teeth. If that is the case, your dentist can replace them to make them whiter and to blend in more with your natural teeth.

Professional treatment by an experienced dentist can greatly minimize the risk of accidental gum exposure to the whitening gel, which could cause burning.  Your dentist will have aptly fitted dental trays, which helps to prevent the whitening gel from leaking onto the gums. 

You are just one office visit from whiter teeth and a gorgeous smile.  Dr. Khang Nguyen and the dentists at El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California welcome the opportunity to make your teeth beautifully white and healthy by offering both in-office and take-home teeth whitening options. The friendly and knowledgeable staff makes it their priority to provide you with the personalized care you deserve.  To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online.

 


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.


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.

 


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!

 

 


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. 


Giving Your Smile a Makeover
Giving Your Smile a Makeover

A Beautiful Smile Makes You Look Younger

Did you know that a skilled cosmetic dentist can take a decade off of your looks? It is true – whiter, straighter teeth make you appear much younger and more vibrant. At one time, there was not much a dentist could really do to improve your smile. Aside from dentures, there was no real way to replace lost or missing teeth or simply make the teeth look new again.  Fortunately, a lot has changed in the last few decades in the field of modern dentistry. New procedures, advanced dental technologies, and sophisticated dental cosmetic smile makeovers can change even the dingiest smile into a dazzling grin.

Common Dental Problems a Smile Makeover Can Correct

Yellowed teeth - darker teeth are a common problem. Teeth tend to become more discolored with age because they absorb stains from foods and beverages like coffee or wine. They can also become darker over time, even if you avoid stain causing foods and take excellent care of your teeth.  Advanced tooth whitening solutions can strip away the yellow, leaving you looking years younger.

Mesial Drift - Over time, many people notice that their teeth have begun to drift slightly due to a common condition known as mesial drift. This can cause unsightly crowding of your teeth, a sure sign of aging. New procedures such as ClearCorrect can rebalance your smile for a fresher, younger look. Orthodontics are not just for kids anymore, either. You can get a perfect smile at any age with “invisible” braces at any age.

Missing teeth - missing teeth can make your face sag inward, adding years to your look. Missing teeth may also make it harder to speak clearly, and eat properly. Besides being less attractive, missing, decayed, broken, or badly damaged teeth are often painful. Without strong teeth, it can be difficult to eat a balanced diet, which has a direct effect on your health and well-being. Dental implants and innovative dentures that lock into place can give you a beautiful smile you will be happy to flash.

Old fillings and worn down teeth - A mouth full of old silver dental work makes your smile instantly dated. Nothing gives away your age like silver fillings when you laugh or smile. Much like an ill-fitting suit, worn down teeth make you look old and tired. The solution is simple: newer fillings are not only safer, but practically invisible. Worn down teeth can be repaired and corrected with advanced dental options.

Don’t be embarrassed by your smile for one more day. A skilled cosmetic dentist is much like an artist, using a specialized palette of cosmetic dental tools such as porcelain veneers, specially tinted white fillings, bridges, dental caps, dental implants and sophisticated tooth whitening systems to create a true work of art.  Call today to find out how you can trade a less than perfect grin for a smile that truly lights up a room.

If you are looking for expert cosmetic dentistry, call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online. No problem is too big or too small for us. Our caring dentists are always happy to help you get the outstanding cosmetic smile makeover you have always wanted.


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.


DIY Teeth Whitening: More Harm than Actual Results

There is no objection that whiter teeth can make you look younger and give you the bright smile everyone wants. With so many products on the market and do-it-yourself recipes, getting exactly what you want seems to be a lot easier. So much so that the majority of people forgo going to the dentist to whiten their teeth and rely solely on these recipes and products. However, the fact of the of the matter is that these recipes and products may actually be doing more harm than good.

Whitening Mouthwash and Toothpaste

Crest, Colgate, and many other brands have made a fortune selling you on the idea that whitening your teeth could be as easy as brushing them. Using the same products, you were used to using before, with some extra ingredients, could provide the same results. However, what most people don’t understand is that these products have a high level of alcohol. The alcohol level could actually harm your gums and internal organs over time. In addition, the content of the active ingredients is simply not strong enough to really achieve the pearly white look we all seek. Making the results lesser than the negative impacts of these products.

Whitening Strips

Strips are the second most popular at-home teeth-whitening products, as the active ingredients are high and some are extremely effective. However, it is imperative to use them correctly. Many people simply overuse the strips, using them year-round and leaving them on for longer than the directed amount of time. It is important to note that strips should only be used for a maximum of twice every year, and only for the amount of time allowed. Overdoing the strip could increase teeth sensitivity and cause undesirable splotching in the teeth.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Many swear by the hydrogen peroxide method. Hydrogen peroxide works by releasing free radicals in the mouth and can actually age the gums and bones. So while an effect to decrease yellowing will take place, the long term result is actually not desirable. The problem is that most people do not know what the proper dosage is to balance the risk and results. Improper usage can actually irritate the gum and worsen teeth condition over time.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

This method seems to be one of the most popular ones online, as it is one of the only DIY methods that actually works. But, it is important to note that while baking soda could have a positive effect on your mouth, it actually does very little for teeth whitening. Baking soda is supposed to eliminate bacteria (that could cause yellowing) and have an exfoliating effect on the teeth (decreasing the amount of surface stains). On the other hand, baking soda can actually limit the amount of good bacteria in the mouth that is necessary for proper oral health.

The active ingredient in this method is actually the lemon juice, because of its acidic properties, it helps break down stains in the teeth. However, it is very acidic and because of this over time it can actually erode the enamel. Any issues with the enamel is actually a permanent problem, as the enamel cannot be recreated. Therefore, this method can actually leave permanent damage in the teeth. Making this method one of the most dangerous ones.

Visiting Your Dentist

The only way to ensure you are getting best results, while maintaining the highest quality of ingredients is to actually visit your dentist. At El Portal Dental, we are here to help you get the bright smile you’ve been wanting. Call us today at (209)385-1479 to schedule your appointment!