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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.


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. 

It’s Not JUST a Cleaning - It’s About Prevention
It’s Not JUST a Cleaning - It’s About Prevention

You may think that when you schedule your semi-annual cleanings with us that you should simply expect a brief inspection, a quick brushing and flossing, and maybe some X-rays. However, if you’ve never been to see the El Portal Dental team, then you might just be missing out on some really important preventive measures. Most dental insurance fully covers a cleaning and check-up every 6 months, so get the most out of of your benefits and maintain a healthy smile!

We don’t just stop with your typical cleaning and X-rays, though – we go the full mile to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. It’s important to know how to properly take care of your teeth and gums, and the best advice always comes directly from your dentist. During your appointment, we’ll also take the time to educate you on how to take care of these essential assets for years to come, as well as answer any questions and address any concerns you might have. 

Our dental team is made up of a great group of experienced, educated and passionate individuals who will gladly provide a thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth, removing all of the nasty built-up plaque your mouth has been harboring over the last six months. This thorough cleaning also offers the team an opportunity to really get a close-up look at all the nooks and crannies, inspecting your mouth for any signs of disease or decay.

While you’re here, Dr. Nguyen or one of our other compassionate dentists will follow-up with you, after your cleaning with one of our experienced hygienists. They will review the hygienist’s report and also inspect for any abnormalities.

Your dentist will then screen for any issue big or small, from potential cavities to signs of oral cancer.  Semi-annual screenings with the dentists can prevent some really big problems later on which may require fillings, crowns, or even root canal treatment.

Your health is important to us, so it’s important that we have plenty of time dedicated to your care and dental maintenance. That’s why when you book your cleaning appointment, we ask that you prepare to be available for at least a one-hour block. This way, you receive more than just a cleaning. You get a thorough check-up by both a dental hygienist and a dentist.

Our goal during your cleaning is to catch and correct oral issues early on so that they don’t turn into something ugly, dangerous, and potentially costly. Are you ready to schedule your next cleaning and screening? For more information, or to schedule by phone, call (209) 385-1479 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!