How to Strengthen Tooth Enamel

Brunette woman with strong enamel, glasses, and gray shirt smiles in a downtown of a busy city

Did you know that the enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body? It’s true! Consisting mostly of minerals, it covers the outer layer of each tooth. Strong enamel acts as a shield for the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from decay, infection, and foods and beverages that are very hot or very cold. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to maintain and even strengthen your teeth enamel.

1. Consume an Enamel-Friendly Diet

Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and dairy products with tooth-strengthening calcium and phosphate. In particular, cheese, nuts, and celery are foods that promote or maintain saliva, which remineralizes enamel. Additionally, limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages. Drinks like carbonated sodas, citrus fruits, and wine can gradually remove small amounts of tooth enamel. If you do drink acidic liquids, use a straw to reduce the fluid’s contact with your teeth and drink water afterwards to wash any residue away.

2. Maintain a Daily Oral Hygiene Routine

Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down the enamel and create sensitive spots. The dentist-recommended routine is to brush gently for two minutes, twice per day, and use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Floss between your teeth at least once a day with string floss or a water flosser.

3. Use a Fluoridated Toothpaste

Fluoride has a remineralizing effect, which helps strengthen enamel, so be sure to choose a fluoridated toothpaste. Most municipal water supplies in the United States also contain fluoride, so merely drinking tap water can help strengthen your enamel, too. In addition, consult with our team to determine if you need a professional fluoride treatment. Although some skeptics question the safety of fluoride, it has been deemed safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, and more than 100 other health organizations around the world.

Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?

If your teeth are sensitive to ordinary eating, drinking, and brushing, you probably already have some enamel damage. Fortunately, desensitizing toothpastes are readily available, which contain ingredients that help block painful sensations from sensitivity. A reduction in tooth sensitivity should be noticeable after using a desensitizing toothpaste several times.

If you have additional questions about tooth enamel, contact Villa Vista Dental to set up an appointment with Dr. Tin today!


Are My Teeth Sensitive?

brunette woman wearing a yellow sweater cringes and touches her cheek in pain due to sensitive teeth

Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common dental issue. For many patients, it becomes especially noticeable during the winter months when exposure to cold air results in a stinging sensation in teeth. Drinking an especially hot or cold beverage can have a similar effect, along with eating highly acidic or sugary foods. If doing any of the things makes you wince or if they provoke a painful sensation in your teeth, you have sensitive teeth. Luckily, our team at Villa Vista is experienced in treating tooth sensitivity. Today, we want to explain some of the causes of tooth sensitivity and discuss some of the common treatments.

Damaged Enamel

One of the primary causes of tooth sensitivity is damaged enamel. Enamel is the hardest material in your body and serves as a protective covering for your teeth, but it is not indestructible. For one, enamel can be damaged through poor oral hygiene. Bacteria produce acid as they feed on your dietary sugars and starches, and this acid can dissolve and demineralize your tooth enamel. Enamel can also be damaged by nighttime teeth grinding and vigorous tooth brushing, as the bristles on your brush can scrub away enamel along with food particles. When enamel is damaged, it exposes the sensitive roots of your teeth to irritation from extreme temperature and pressure, causing that sharp stinging sensation associated with tooth sensitivity.

Receding Gums

Like damaged enamel, receding gums are another common source of sensitive teeth that can also be caused by poor oral hygiene and vigorous brushing. Without proper cleaning, bacteria in your mouth build up and can accumulate into plaque, a sticky biofilm. Left unattended, plaque can harden into tartar, a substance that irritates gums and can cause them to recede. Moreover, vigorous brushing can damage gums and cause them to recede. When gums recede, they expose the roots of your teeth and cause sensitivity.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

When our patients come to us with sensitive teeth, we may first recommend they purchase a soft-bristled toothbrush and an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. In other cases, we may recommend using a rinse with fluoride in it or an in-office fluoride treatment. Fluoride can help strengthen enamel through a process called remineralization. Sometimes root canal therapy is necessary. But regardless of how severe your sensitivity is, we’ll help find the right solution for you!

If you’ve been dealing with sensitive teeth this winter, give us a call today to learn about how we can help!


How the Dentist Can Fix an Overbite or Underbite

Blonde woman wearing a black shirt covers her mouth with her hands because she is embarrassed about her overbite

Malocclusion refers to the misaligned positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed. Two common forms of malocclusion are underbite and overbite. With an overbite, the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth, while underbite is the opposite, with the bottom row of teeth overlapping the front of the upper teeth. Read on to learn about problems associated with these conditions, and how we can help here at Villa Vista Dental.

Issues From an Overbite or Underbite

Problems with one’s bite can cause functional and aesthetic problems over time. Problems related to an overbite include:

  • Broken, cracked or chipped teeth
  • Uneven tooth wear
  • Jaw pain and temporomandibular joint dysfunction/TMD
  • Gum disease (due to difficulty keeping misaligned teeth clean)

Problems related to an underbite include:

  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing due to the protrusion of the lower jaw
  • Increased tooth decay and uneven wear
  • Pain in the jaw and TMJ dysfunction

How to Fix an Overbite or Underbite

In many cases, bite correction involves orthodontia. At a consultation with Dr. Tin here at Villa Vista Dental, we’ll examine your teeth and bite to determine the best treatment for your specific situation. Depending on the severity of your bite issues, we may recommend ClearCorrect®, a series of custom aligners that, as the name suggests, are completely clear and virtually undetectable. Get in touch with our team to discover if your dental goals can be accomplished using this amazing orthodontic treatment or if you’d benefit from traditional braces.

Schedule an Orthodontic Consultation

Since untreated jaw alignment issues ultimately can lead to increased wear and tear on the teeth, as well as pain and difficulty eating and/or swallowing, it’s best to seek bite correction treatment before your symptoms become problems. Although teeth position is more easily changed during childhood and the teenage years, adults who wish to correction their bite can (and should) seek treatment!

Schedule a consultation at our Elk Grove dental office! Our hours are varied so you can schedule a time that is most convenient for you.


Tips for Recovery Post-Dental Surgery

Dark-haired couple wearing blue shirts smile while sitting, the woman leaning on the man's shoulder

Whether you’ve had a tooth extraction, root canal therapy, or a more complex dental procedure, there are certain things you can do after it’s complete to increase your comfort and promote healing. In this article, we offer a few basic recovery tips.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

Avoid physical activity and exercise for two to three days. Vigorous activity soon after your procedure can dislodge the blood clots that are necessary for your mouth to heal. When lying down, you can keep your head propped up with pillows to help reduce any swelling.

2. Ice As Necessary

Ice helps keep inflammation down and helps to numb the area of pain. If you don’t have a proper ice pack, you can put ice in a ziplock bag and wrap it in a hand towel, or even just place ice directly in a towel. Then, place the ice pack on the affected area for 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off. Remember to never place ice directly onto your skin or to ice longer than 20 minutes.

3. Eat Soft Foods Only

For the first few days after surgery, be sure to follow a liquid or soft food diet. Drink plenty of water and avoid soda. Pureed soup, yogurt, smoothies, pudding, gelatin, and mashed sweet potatoes are tasty and easy to eat. Definitely avoid drinking through straws and eating anything hard or crunchy until a dental professional gives you the go-ahead. Also, until the anesthesia wears off, avoid anything hot, because the numbness can cause you to burn your mouth without even knowing it!

4. Take Prescribed Antibiotics

As in general medicine, antibiotics are also sometimes prescribed in dentistry. If prescribed antibiotics for an infection, it’s very important to finish the entire course as directed. Not doing so can be harmful to public health by ultimately leading to antibiotic resistance.

5. Brush Gently & Keep Your Mouth Clean

Although you shouldn’t brush or floss the teeth in the surgical area for at least 24 hours, you should continue to gently brush and floss the other parts of your mouth. After 24 hours have passed, you can rinse gently with warm salt water. However, avoid vigorous rinsing and spitting. In many cases following oral surgery, the antibacterial rinse chlorhexidine is prescribed, which provides the surgical area with extra protection.

6. Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol

Smoking and using other forms of tobacco are incredibly harmful for oral health. Not surprisingly, it should be avoided when recovering from oral surgery — as should alcohol, because they both can interfere with the healing process.

Further Concerns? Contact Us!

If you have any questions about your after-care instructions or if you experience abnormal pain, swelling, or bleeding, call us at 916-691-6802. Dr. Tin and our team at Villa Vista Dental are here to make your recovery as smooth, pain-free, and successful as possible.

Reach out to us with any additional questions about your recovery!


5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Good for Your Mouth

Aerial view of a Thanksgiving turkey on a silver platter next to water glasses and a green salad

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re like us, you’re getting excited about all the delicious things you’re going to eat. At Villa Vista Dental, we want you to enjoy the holiday, but we also want to make sure you watch out for the health of your teeth while doing so. Don’t worry, you don’t need to pass up on all your favorites. You can still eat well and look after your smile this Thanksgiving! Here are five tooth-friendly Thanksgiving dishes:

1. Turkey

Yes, the star of Thanksgiving is actually good for your teeth! Sweet and starchy foods are the biggest culprits to watch out for when it comes to keeping your teeth in great condition, which means protein-filled turkey passes the test. It also contains gum-strengthening B vitamins and enamel-strengthening vitamin D.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Whether roasted or made into a mash, sweet potatoes are a great dish to dig into this Thanksgiving. This root vegetable is full of healthful vitamins and minerals that are good for your dental health, like vitamin A and C and phosphorus.

3. Cheese

Eyeing that cheese plate or dish of macaroni? Go for it! Cheese, like other dairy products, is rich in calcium and phosphorus, which help strengthen teeth. Moreover, cheese also balances your mouth’s pH level, which help combats the formation of cavities.

4. Green Bean Casserole

The vitamin C in green beans and onions together make for a winning combination when it comes to the health of your gums, so feel free to enjoy this classic Thanksgiving dish.

5. Cranberries

Cranberries contain vitamin C and A, along with beta carotene and potassium. But if you’re eating your cranberries in the form of sauce, we recommend you opt for a homemade, rather than store-bought, version so you can limit the amount of sugar inside.

To learn more about which foods are best for your teeth, or which ones you should avoid, contact our Villa Vista Dental team!


Can Protein Shakes Leave Residue on Teeth?

Aerial view of a strawberry protein shake with uncut strawberries clustered around it

Whether used to add muscle, lose weight, get a jolt of energy, or just have a time-saving meal replacement, protein shakes have become increasingly popular among busy consumers due to their convenience. But are there any negative oral health effects to drinking these beverages? Read on to find out!

What’s In Your Protein Shake?

Despite the overall body wellness benefits touted in promotional hype, certain protein shakes and powders loaded with artificial ingredients and sugar have a few drawbacks.

Residue on Your Teeth

A diet high in sugar encourages a film of sticky bacteria, called plaque, to grow on your teeth and along your gum line. Plaque accumulation often makes your teeth feel fuzzy. Moreover, powder-based protein drinks can leave a filmy, gritty residue on your teeth. As one protein shake drinker vividly described it in an online comment: “My teeth feel like they have sweaters on them!”

Watch Out for Questionable Ingredients

Many consumers don’t realize that protein powders and beverages, like other dietary supplements, do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although their manufacture and marketing must comply with FDA regulations, their ingredients are not required to be tested for safety before being sold. So knowing exactly what’s in your protein shake and how it will affect your body can require some research.

Choose Sugar-Free & Nutritious Options

Like all prepackaged items you buy for consumption, we recommend always checking the ingredient list of any shakes and supplements. If the number one ingredient is sugar, don’t buy it! Try to go with a sugar-free option made with natural ingredients and enriched with nutrients essential for strong teeth, like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and vitamin A.

Are You Protecting Your Teeth?

Regardless of the ingredients in your preferred protein shake, follow these tips to help protect your teeth from damage:

Drink Water

It’s always a good idea to drink a glass of water after consuming a protein shake or other protein beverage. Drinking water is critical for both a healthy body and a healthy body. Water and your saliva prevent dry mouth, help clean the surfaces of your teeth, and wash away any lingering residue that could feel filmy, or sugar that could become fuel for bacteria. Otherwise, bacteria will feed on the residue and produce acid that wears away at tooth enamel and puts you at risk for developing gum disease and tooth decay.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Additionally, we recommend chewing sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after consuming a meal to further stimulate the production of saliva and help clean your teeth of leftover particles.

Maintain Superb Preventive Oral Care

Protein shake drinker or not, we advise everyone to practice excellent oral hygiene! Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, floss every day, and come visit us for regular dental cleanings and checkups. If you are overdue for your six-month appointment, contact us today.

Our Villa Vista Dental team looks forward to seeing you!


Is Dental Insurance Worth the Cost?

Pink plastic piggy bank for saving money against a darker pink background
If you’re thinking about getting dental insurance, you may wonder if it’s worth it. Here, we’ll explain how dental insurance can be a good value depending on your circumstances.

How Much Does Dental Insurance Cost?

The average American spends about $360 per year on dental insurance. A typical dental insurance plan covers you up to a limit of between $1,000 and $2,000 for the year. This means that after your insurance spends that much on your dental care, you will need to pay any additional charges out of pocket. However, it’s not often the case that you’ll go above your limit, as only between 2-4% of people go above their yearly maximum. Therefore, if you are like most people and just need regular checkups and cleanings, you won’t hit the maximum. On the other hand, if you need more intensive procedures, like root canal therapy or a dental implant, you may reach your limit.

How Much Does Dental Insurance Cover?

An average dental insurance plan uses what is known as 100/80/50 coverage. What this means is that dental insurance will typically cover 100% of the cost of preventive and diagnostic care, such as two checkups and cleanings per year, as well as those routine dental X-rays that you get every year. Dental insurance will also cover about 80% of basic procedures, such as fillings and extractions, while they’ll cover about 50% of your more major procedures, like dentures, dental implants, and dental crowns. These plans are designed to encourage preventive care, which in the long run will save you a lot of money. For example, if you go to the dentist every six months for a cleaning and practice fantastic oral hygiene care in between, chances are good you won’t have to get fillings or root canal therapy. However, if you never visit the dentist, you will probably have poor oral health and will need to spend a lot of money later on a more extensive procedure. In fact, it is projected that a dollar spent on regular cleanings and checkups can save $50 on bigger procedures down the line.

So, Is Dental Insurance Worth the Cost?

It can be, depending on your circumstances. If you are young and have a history of good oral health, it may make sense for you to just pay for your biannual cleanings and checkups without insurance if your insurance plan has high premiums. If you are older and have a history of dental health issues, it will probably be worth it for you to have dental health insurance to cover, or at least partly cover, the cost of your more extensive oral health procedures like dentures or crowns.

If you have more questions about dental insurance, get in touch with our office today!


4 Tips to Help Your Breath Smell Fresh

Brunette woman hides behind a gray curtain with only half her face showing due to embarrassment about her bad breath
Is bad breath bringing you down? Don’t let morning breath and garlic breath ruin your whole day. Here are four tips and tricks to make sure your mouth stays minty fresh!

1. Follow a Routine Oral Care Regimen

Following a strict oral care regimen is essential to not only ensure that your mouth is healthy, but that it smells good, too. Make sure you are brushing twice a day for two minutes each time (don’t forget to brush your tongue!) and flossing at least once a day. Plaque and tartar can release gases that are less than pleasant to smell, so keeping your teeth squeaky clean is a good start to getting your bad breath under control. If you’re noticing particularly serious issues with plaque buildup or if you have persistent bad breath, try chewing sugar-free gum after every meal and decreasing your intake of sugar and processed foods. You may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after eating, but wait to brush your teeth for 30-60 minutes after eating and drinking anything other than water to allow your enamel time to re-harden from any acids in your meal.

2. Mouthwash Is Your Friend

For those who are experiencing bad-breath issues and even for those who aren’t, adding an alcohol-free antibacterial/antiplaque mouthwash in to your oral care routine is a good way to combat bad breath. Just swish and gargle at least two to three times a week, and you should notice a significant difference.

3. Hydrate with H2O

Did you know that saliva actually helps fight bacteria in your mouth? If you suffer from dry mouth, that could be the cause of your bad breath. When your mouth is dry, the saliva isn’t breaking down that bacteria. Thus, a dry mouth allows yucky oral bacteria to proliferate and produce foul-smelling gasses. Stay hydrated with water throughout the day to keep bad breath at bay.

4. Visit Villa Vista Dental Every 6 Months

Even if you’re already doing all the above, there are just some nooks and crannies you have difficulty reaching yourself. When plaque starts to build up in these spots, those foul gases can rear their nasty heads. But we’re here to help you have a clean mouth and excellent oral health. By visiting us every six months, we can help keep your mouth smelling less like death and a lot more fresh. Contact us to schedule your next appointment!

Don’t let dragon breath set fire to your self-confidence.


What Is a Cavity & How Can I Prevent It?

Closeup of a stack of 3 donuts covered in pink and white icing and sprinkles on a clear wavy plate on a gray counter

What’s one of the first oral issues that comes to mind when you hear that someone needs to make a trip to the dentist? If you guessed that they may have a cavity, you’re right. We always hear about cavities and how horrible they are, but what are they exactly and how can we prevent them? Read on to find out!

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is a small hole that develops in a tooth after the outer protective layer of your tooth, called the enamel, has been weakened by decay. Enamel is weakened by certain types of bad bacteria found in the mouth. This bacteria produces acid as it feasts upon sugars and starches that linger in your mouth after eating. In turn, this acid eats away at your teeth, creating cavities.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Cavities?

The symptoms of a cavity vary. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all! Many people aren’t even aware that they have tooth decay until it is detected by a dental professional. However, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may have a cavity:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold
  • Visible brown or black pits on the teeth
  • White, brown or black staining on the tooth
  • Pain when biting down

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Some of the easiest ways to prevent cavities are as follows:

  • Make it a habit to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid snacking throughout the day
  • Come in every six months for checkups and cleanings

We Can Help You Have Superb Oral Health!

If left untreated, cavities can spread and cause serious infection and eventual tooth loss. That is why you should come see Dr. Tin at least twice a year to be sure your mouth is free of tooth decay. If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from tooth decay, please contact our Villa Vista Dental team to schedule an appointment at our Elk Grove dental office today.

Is your mouth cavity-free?


What To Do in a Dental Emergency

Glass of cow's milk to preserve a knocked-out tooth on a concrete curb next to a lawn of grass

A dental emergency doesn’t have to be stressful! From toothaches to chipped or knocked-out teeth to post-surgical complications, we can save your smile if you act quickly.

What Is a Dental Emergency?

If you have profuse bleeding or pain, or have broken or lost a tooth, you should definitely come see Dr. Tin right away. If you’ve recently had an oral procedure, make sure that you are not experiencing any abnormalities that were described to you when going over your aftercare. If you think you need emergency dentistry, trust your instincts. Even if it may end up being a false alarm, neglecting to address an emergency means potentially facing even bigger problems in the future.

How to Prepare for an Emergency

At Villa Vista Dental, we have room in our schedule to see same-day dental emergencies, but not all dental offices offer this. You never know when a dental emergency may arise, so always have Dr. Tin’s contact information handy.

My Dentist

Dr. Ricky Tin at Villa Vista Dental

Office Hours

Mon | Thur | Fri 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tues | Wed 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday By Appointment

Office Phone Number

916-691-6800

Office Address

2471 Elk Grove Boulevard, Suite 190, Elk Grove, CA 95758

What to Do in an Emergency

If you knocked out a tooth, don’t lose it or rub it with any cloth! First, take a deep breath, try to relax, and put the missing tooth in a glass of milk in order to preserve it. Dr. Tin may be able to reattach it if you do! If you have pain and swelling, try doing a salt water rinse to kill bacteria around the affected area and ice your cheeks in 10-minute increments to relieve the pain and reduce swelling.

How to Prevent a Dental Emergency

There are a few simple ways to prevent a dental emergency. Brushing and flossing daily will keep your mouth healthy and decrease your chances of developing gum disease, which can lead to many complications down the line. If you play contact sports, ask about wearing our Under Armour® Athletic Mouthguard to protect your teeth.

If you have a dental emergency, contact us ASAP so we can fit you into the schedule!