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El Portal Dental Group

Orthodontics & ClearCorrect

In Merced, California, El Portal Dental Group has the latest orthodontic treatments designed to give you a more confident smile. We stay ahead of the trends and bring you the latest styles and most effective options when you need braces or an aligner or retainer. We have solutions for kids and adults alike.

We are your one-stop resource for orthodontics and dental care.

We frequently hear from patients that one of the things they love best about El Portal Dental Group is having both their dentist and their orthodontist in one place. We're your one-stop resource for family dentistry and orthodontic treatment. We can make visits convenient so that you can visit your dentist and then walk down the hallway to visit your orthodontist, saving you time.

Because dental hygiene is so important, regular visits to the family dentist must continue every six months during orthodontic treatment. It is essential that the patient avoid food that can damage orthodontic appliances. The patient must also maintain a healthy, nutritional diet to achieve the best possible results from treatment. A good diet provides essential nutrients to bones and tissues undergoing change during orthodontic treatment.

We want you to have the time to explore your options. Initial orthodontic consultations are provided free of charge. Call our office today at (209) 385-1479 to make an appointment. Learn more about orthodontic treatment below.

What Is Orthodontics?

The purpose of orthodontics is to treat any type of malocclusion, which is simply another way of saying “bad bite.” When you have a malocclusion, that means your teeth, lips, and/or jaws don’t line up the way they should. As a result, your teeth may be crooked, your bite may not work correctly, and your jaws may look unbalanced.

To fix bad bites, specially trained dentists called orthodontists use braces and other corrective procedures, including materials often called “appliances,” to achieve tooth and jaw alignment. This correction of the teeth and their supportive structures makes for a healthy, attractive smile.

When Should I See an Orthodontist?

Kids should see an orthodontist at age 7.

Modern orthodontics is much different than it was a decade or so ago. When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers. And the fact is, most orthodontics treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14. However, by age 7, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That’s important, because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they’re found early.

For these reasons, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. Of course, the check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine, and that can be comforting news.

Adult orthodontics: It's never too late to get started.

Are you an adult who's always wanted to change your smile? You can! Adult orthodontic treatment can be successful at almost any age. In fact, about one in every five orthodontic patients today is over age 18. Thanks to today’s smaller, less visible, more comfortable brackets, adults are finding braces more appealing. Many adults also choose ClearCorrect Invisible braces for a "clear alternative to braces". Healthy teeth, bones, and gums respond well to orthodontic treatment at almost any age. It’s never too late to get a healthy, beautiful smile.

To learn more about ClearCorrect, go to www.ClearCorrect.com

The Orthodontic Process: Four Steps to Straighter Teeth

Step 1: New Patient Exam

At your first orthodontic visit, Dr. Khang Nguyen will complete an orthodontic examination to determine your orthodontic needs.

Step 2: Orthodontic Records/Consultation

Orthodontic records are the next step towards getting your braces. This appointment is approximately 1 ½  hours long and will include X- rays, a set of dental impressions, and photographs of you and your teeth. Your orthodontic records are used to diagnose your orthodontic problem more accurately so that Dr. Nguyen can design a treatment plan specifically for you.

At the orthodontic consultation, Dr. Nguyen will go over all of your orthodontic records and show you examples of braces, ClearCorrect aligners, and any appliances that may be involved in your treatment. The consultation is scheduled for 40 minutes and includes individual time with the doctor to ask any questions you may have involving your specific treatment.

Your treatment coordinator will then go over the financial contract, insurance benefits, and payment options. We will schedule the series of appointments necessary to get you started and discuss options for financing your treatment.

Your appointment to get your braces on can usually be scheduled on the same day or within a few days. ClearCorrect impressions can usually be taken at the consultation appointment, if you desire.

Step 3: Getting Braces or ClearCorrect Aligners On

One of our highly trained orthodontic assistants will oversee the placement of your appliances and answer all of your questions as she walks you through the entire process from beginning to end.

For braces, each bracket is carefully positioned on each tooth by Dr. Nguyen. Because this is such a critical step in the entire process, Dr. Nguyen invests time in the smallest details to achieve the best results. On the day that your braces are placed, you can be sure that every detail has been considered, including bracket positioning, bracket prescription, bracket type, and wire selection.

For ClearCorrect, your impressions leave our office the same day they are taken. These impressions are sent to the ClearCorrect lab to be scanned and the computer model of your teeth is constructed. From this model, your custom aligners are created.

Once the aligners are received in our office, you are notified by phone and an appointment is set up to bond/glue any small, clear buttons/attachments to your teeth. These clear attachments act as your ‘braces’ and allow us to manipulate the teeth. Your first aligner is inserted and instructions on wear and care are given. ClearCorrect aligners are worn for 22-23 hours of the day and are usually changed every 2 weeks, or as prescribed by Dr. Nguyen.

For more information on ClearCorrect, please visit their website at www.clearcorrect.com.

Step 4: Getting Your Braces Off / Retainers

It is important that you make arrangements with our office to have a good cleaning, check-up, and fluoride treatment following the removal of your braces.

You will be pleased at how easy and comfortable the process is. At this appointment, you will be provided with a photo of your teeth before you had braces so you can compare how your beautiful smile looks now!

Before you leave the office to show the world your outstanding smile, we will need to take a final set of orthodontic records. We will also make you a set of retainers to hold your teeth into their final position. Dr. Nguyen will decide which retainer is best for you and he will prescribe a protocol for wearing your retainers. Most patients are advised that they should wear their retainers indefinitely in some capacity. The general rule is “wear your retainers for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you take my insurance?

We accept most insurances. We’d be happy to answer questions on your specific insurance.

Is there a charge for the exam?

We offer free consultations.

Do braces hurt?

There can be discomfort when moving teeth.

What do I do if I have an emergency and your office isn’t open?

Please call (209) 385-1479. We have a doctor on call.

Can I eat or drink with my ClearCorrect aligners in?

We do not recommend eating with the aligners in. You can only drink warm or cold water with your aligners in. You should remove your aligners to drink any other beverages.

How often do I have to be seen for appointments?

The usual period between adjustments is 6 weeks. However, this can be longer or shorter depending on your specific treatment.

I don’t want to miss school/work for appointments. What are my options?

It is recommended that you bring your work/school schedule with you to each appointment. We do our best to accommodate before/after work/school appointments. We offer weekend appointments as well.

What are my options for paying for orthodontic treatment?

El Portal Dental Group is always seeking ways to make orthodontics accessible and affordable to everyone who seeks treatment. We offer financing through Care Credit or CitiHealth. You can find more information at www.carecredit.com or www.citihealth.com, or we can help you in our office.

Learn more about orthodontics for kids and adults. Use our online form to request an appointment or call us at (209) 385-1479 today.