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What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?
What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?

Some people have tooth sensitivity when they eat or drink cold, hot, sweet, or acidic foods or drinks. Sensitivity most often means that the root area is exposed somewhere in your mouth. However, tooth sensitivity can also happen after a dental procedure; usually, the symptoms go away on their own as the mouth heals after the procedure. Here are some dental procedures that may leave your teeth feeling sensitive.

Root canals

A root canal involves removal of infected pulp from inside the tooth to prevent further infection.  The area where the root is located contains nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells.  A root canal removes all of this, leaving the inside of the tooth hollow.  During the root canal, the dentist will clean out all contamination and then fill the void with a temporary, then permanent filling.  With root canals, the pain is temporary and over the counter, painkillers are generally good enough to deal with the pain. Your dentist can also prescribe medication to help deal with the pain.

Crowns

Dental crowns are needed if you have a cracked, decaying, or broken tooth. The crown is sort of a manmade tooth that covers an implant or is cemented to part of a broken tooth. When the crown is put in, it can irritate the nearby nerves and gums and cause some pain. It is common to feel pain after a crown is put in because of the inflammation. Fortunately, this pain is temporary and will go away on its own. You can control the pain symptoms through over the counter painkillers. If there is rubbing or sharp pains, see your dentist immediately; an improperly placed or jagged crown can irritate the gums and cause infection.

Tooth Extraction

You may need to get a tooth removed for any number of reasons – from tooth decay, crowded teeth, gum disease, and painful wisdom teeth to a baby tooth that refused to come out on its own.  Pain after an extraction is expected as it leaves nerves and the pulp under the tooth exposed. Dentists generally prescribe pain medication to control the pain and to prevent infection.

Gum tissue grafts

Gum tissue grafts are used to fix roots that have been exposed due to receding gums. You are more likely to feel pain and sensitivity while the wound heals. Your dentist or periodontist may prescribe pain medication as well as antibiotics to prevent infection.

If you recently have undergone one of these procedures will be getting one done soon, you should expect pain and sensitivity. However, if your symptoms last longer than a few days or get worse over time, it’s important to seek medical attention. Finally, there are many other dental procedures that can cause tooth sensitivity. If you are about to get any dental procedure done, make sure to talk to your doctor about what symptoms to expect and what you can do to reduce them.

Braces

Getting braces can result in sensitivity. After all, you are applying hardware to reform the placement of your teeth. Pain and sensitivity are to be expected as your teeth shift; if the pain comes from sharp wires or rough edges, see your dentist or orthodontist immediately to repair the wire or bracket.

At El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, Dr. Khang Nguyen and his staff provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your family. Dr. Nguyen offers general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and emergency dentistry services to adults and children in Merced, California in a comfortable and caring environment. In addition, we speak English, Spanish, Hmong, and Vietnamese. Dr. Nguyen can create beautiful, confident smiles that are as healthy as they are functional. Come and discover dental excellence at El Portal Dental Group. Request an appointment with Dr. Nguyen, cosmetic and family dentist in Merced, California. Call (209) 385-1479 today. Same-day emergency and weekend dental appointments are available.


Do Veneers Ruin Your Teeth?
Do Veneers Ruin Your Teeth?

Cutting Your Teeth: Why Veneers Can Be a Valuable Option

 

Hollywood is synonymous with glittering gowns, perfectly coifed hair, and shining smiles – so it’s no surprise that it was a California dentist, Charles Pincus, who was the first to develop a solution to less-than-perfect teeth. First introduced to the cosmetic dentistry field in the 1930s, this innovative procedure certainly made an impression. Veneers were considered a groundbreaking development for those on the hunt for an A-list smile.

 

Today, the popularity of veneers is still very much on the rise. A 2011 study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that dental veneers have experienced a growth of over 250 percent in recent years. And with most Americans holding the belief that a smile is an important social asset, chances are this technique isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

While this procedure is considered cosmetic, it isn’t to be taken lightly.

 

Speak with a reputable cosmetic dentist who will discuss the pros and cons involved, as well as your other options. Dental veneers (also known as porcelain veneers, or dental porcelain laminates), are medical-grade shells of tooth-like material that are placed over the surface of your current teeth to enhance their appearance. Whether you have chipped, misaligned, discolored, uneven, or irregularly shaped teeth, veneers can certainly transform your smile.

 

Enamel is strong, but not impervious to damage; which is why we hear so often from dentists about protecting our enamel with fluoride and proper brushing techniques. Once it has degraded, our tooth enamel can’t be regenerated because it doesn’t contain living tissue or organisms. When you undergo a veneer procedure, your cosmetic dentist will have to remove a certain portion of the outer layer of enamel to make room for the covering. It is important to understand this before deciding to get veneers.

 

Unlike crowns, which can require grinding down the teeth into tiny nubs, no major structural changes are needed for veneer placement. According to one article, 99 percent of the time a dentist doesn’t have to shave away more than 0.5 mm of tooth enamel to achieve a patient’s desired results. Otherwise, veneers are relatively risk-free and won’t cause any other damage to your natural teeth. 

 

According to the AACD, temporary tooth sensitivity is expected following this procedure and there are a variety of products your dentist can recommend to mitigate this. Prior to choosing veneers, you’ll have a series of X-rays, photographs, and study models prepared to ensure that your teeth are healthy and that you’re an appropriate candidate for veneers. Keep in mind that veneers don’t treat any medical conditions, and are solely a cosmetic fix.

 

If you’re willing to pay the price for veneers – which can cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth, you’ll reap a multitude of benefits. According to El Portal Dental Group, one dental office performing this highly requested procedure, porcelain veneers are long-lasting, natural-looking, chip-resistant, and won’t discolor over time. If chipped or discolored teeth are keeping you from smiling, consider the option of veneers.

 

While it’s a rare occurrence, veneers that are improperly placed may lead to long-term complications to the gums and underlying structures. In some cases, the procedure could damage the dentin, change the alignment of your bite, or cause jaw pain and difficulty chewing. This is why it’s important to choose the right provider for your veneers. Do your due diligence and select an experienced cosmetic dentist with plenty of training.

 

Dr. Khang Nguyen of El Portal Dental Group earned his DDS degree from New York University College of Dentistry – one of the most respected dental programs in the country. In order to offer patients the most cutting-edge dental treatments available, he regularly attends continuing education courses. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479.


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.

 


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

 

 


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.


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


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.

4 Dental Terms You Should Know
4 Dental Terms You Should Know

For a lot of us, medical terms seem to be something we only think about sometimes, and quite often do not care to understand. However, your oral health directly impacts your overall health, so it’s important that you get to know terms and conditions that could have long-term effects. Here are a few of the top medical terms you should learn more about:

Plaque

Plaque is a sticky, colorless, deposit of bacteria that builds up on your teeth. Plaque can cause tooth decay and various gum diseases. When you eat, the bacteria in plaque process sugars into acid that eats away at the tooth enamel, this process can lead to holes in your teeth (cavities).

Fighting against Plaque

It is imperative to brush your teeth twice a day to remove plaque and protect the tooth enamel from decay. Using floss will help remove the plaque from places your toothbrush cannot penetrate. Rinsing with clean water or mouthwash also helps to fight plaque buildup. Visiting your dentist will also help keep plaque at bay.

Tartar

Tartar is what happens when plaque isn’t removed daily. Tartar is a rough and solid material full of millions of bacteria that forms above the gum line. Tartar requires special tools to remove and may lead to gum diseases and even heart disease.

Preventing Tartar

Brushing regularly is the best way to prevent tartar; studies have shown that an electronic toothbrush will help prevent tartar more effectively than manual toothbrushes. Flossing is also imperative in the fight against tartar, while using antiseptic mouthwash will help kill the bacteria that cause plaque in the first place.

Gingivitis

We see this term in every Listerine and Colgate toothpaste ad, but do you really know what it is? Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and is usually caused by plaque build-up. If plaque isn’t removed daily, it can irritate the gums, leading to gingivitis. Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease, and left untreated could lead to long-term oral health complications.

How Do I Know if I Have Gingivitis?

Signs of gingivitis include red and swollen gums. You may also notice bleeding when you brush.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a serious stage of gum disease. While Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums, periodontitis usually refers to dental bone loss and tissue damage. With Periodontitis, the gum pulls away from the teeth, creating pockets of open space where bacteria accumulate. Tooth loss is also prevalent with periodontitis. Periodontitis causes irreversible oral health damages.

Diagnosing Periodontitis

A dentist will help determine whether a patient has gingivitis or periodontitis. It is important to diagnose periodontitis sooner rather than later.

While these conditions may have lasting effects on your overall health, preventing them can be quite easy. It is important to brush twice daily, floss, and use mouthwash to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Visiting your dentist regularly will also prevent these diseases from having long-term effects. If it is time for your annual or semi-annual visit, call El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California today at (209) 385-1479, or schedule your appointment online!


Relieving the Pain After Your Root Canal Procedure
Relieving the Pain After Your Root Canal Procedure

Getting a Root Canal

If your dentist has advised you that you need a root canal, you probably have some form of infection or serious decay that must be removed in order to save the tooth. A root canal, also called endodontic therapy, involves removing the damaged, inflamed or infected pulp material inside the tooth. Sometimes it also means removing the nerve as well. Once removed, the tooth is sealed with a crown and allowed to heal. Sometimes patients report that their tooth pain has actually increased after the procedure. Below are some helpful tips to help relieve the pain following a root canal procedure.

Why it Hurts

If the tooth was especially inflamed or painful, the root canal may actually temporarily aggravate the area, causing you more discomfort that normal. Additionally, the healing process can take a little time to calm things down. This is frequently caused by stretching on the periodontal fibers and ligaments that hold the tooth in place. They are likely to be inflamed by the infection, or the root canal procedure itself. Your jaws may also be sore from having them opened so wide for the time it takes your dentist to complete the work.

Even if the nerve has been removed, some patients report a kind of “ghost” nerve pain because of the sudden severing of the nerve from the major nerves that run along the pathways of your jaws and gums. Over time, this pain normally recedes by itself. However, you should tell your dentist about any continuing pain or discomfort.

Patients should avoid chewing on hard or crunchy foods following a root canal. Chewing on the opposite side or eating only soft foods is a good way to allow the tooth to rest and heal. It can also reduce your pain. If the pain continues or gets worse after a root canal, you may need additional treatment and should notify your dentist as soon as possible.

Relieving Pain After a Root Canal

  • First and foremost, follow all of your dentist’s instructions
  • Make sure to take any prescribed medications or antibiotics, as directed
  • Make sure to allow the tooth to heal and chew on the other side when possible for a few days
  • Report all bleeding, signs of infection such as pus or redness, fever or swelling to your dentist
  • Ask the dentist if you can take over the counter medications or if they can prescribe something for pain

If you need treatment for an abscessed tooth or want more information about dental care such as a root canal, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 today or schedule an appointment online. Our compassionate and gentle dentists are always happy to help you with the superior dental care you and your loved ones deserve.