Abscessed Tooth Symptoms & Treatments

Tooth abscesses can be debilitating painful and are almost always an indication of a more serious underlying issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Here’s how you can tell if you have an abscessed tooth and how you can properly treat it.

woman holding her lower lip in pain from an abscessed tooth

Symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that is due to a bacterial infection. Abscesses can either occur at the tip of the tooth root or on the gums beside the tooth root.

Abscesses are caused by injury due to prior dental work or advanced decay. Signs of an abscess include severe pain that can radiate, sensitivity to temperature or pressure, fever, swelling, foul smell or taste in your mouth, and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Abscess Treatment

If you suspect that you have an abscess, you must seek treatment from a dentist right away. They will take an x-ray and conduct any other necessary tests to confirm that you have an abscess, and then develop a course of action from there. Usually, they will drain the abscess, and may have to perform a root canal (if you have infected pulp) or pull the infected tooth entirely. You will also have to take antibiotics in order to kill off any of the bad bacteria that have collected in your mouth over time. You may also be prescribed painkillers and be required to rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce swelling and speed up the healing process.

Preventing a Tooth Abscess

In most cases, abscesses are due to neglect and lack of proper dental hygiene. To avoid an abscess, you should be sure to brush and floss your teeth twice a day to maintain good oral health. Seeing your dentist regularly is also a good way to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and strong.

If you believe you have an abscess and require treatment or if you have any questions about how to improve your oral health, don’t hesitate to contact our staff at Villa Vista Dental. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

If you have any questions about tooth abscesses or any oral health issue, contact us today to set up a consultation at Villa Vista Dental!


Dental Implants vs. Veneers

Man and woman with dental implants and veneers smile as they cuddle on the couch with orange mugs

Dental implants and veneers are increasingly common dental procedures, but patients are often uncertain which one is best for them. Simply put, dental implants are intended to solve an oral health problem, while veneers are intended to solve merely a cosmetic problem. In this article, we give an overview of both dental implants and veneers, and summarize the benefits of each.

Dental Implants

When teeth are missing or removed, the only options are to do nothing or to add artificial replacement teeth. Traditionally, replacing teeth has been accomplished with dental bridges or dentures. But dental implants are now recognized as the superior option for a permanent solution. They serve as artificial tooth roots, with a biocompatible titanium rod being surgically inserted into the jawbone to bond with the natural bone. Then, an “abutment” is connected to the top of the dental implant that serves to hold an artificial crown, which is custom-made to match the look and feel of your natural teeth.

Benefits

Not only are modern dental implants the strongest and most realistic option to replace teeth, but they require virtually no more maintenance than regular teeth. They are also the only tooth replacement option that actually helps stimulate bone growth to prevent bone loss.

Veneers

Dental veneers are thin pieces of tooth-colored porcelain that are cemented to the front surfaces of natural teeth. They offer a permanent solution to many cosmetic dental issues, such as teeth that are misshapen, discolored, or otherwise imperfect. Gapped teeth or crooked teeth are typically treated with braces or other orthodontic treatments, but veneers can often accomplish the same cosmetic effect. Of course, it doesn’t correct the underlying condition, but the cosmetic flaws are rendered invisible.

Benefits

Veneers are designed to look just the way you want, so you can create your dream smile! Additionally, being stain-resistant, veneers offer a permanent way to whiten your smile. There’s never any need for whitening treatments!

If you have any questions about dental implants or veneers, contact us today to set up a consultation at Villa Vista Dental!


The History of Modern Dentistry

Brunette man sits in a dental chair as a dental hygienist examines his mouth with modern dentistry tools

Humans have been trying to fix bad teeth since about 7,000 B.C., according to archaeological evidence. But dentistry didn’t become a serious profession until the 18th century. Read on to learn about the history and evolution of modern dentistry!

The Birth of Modern Dentistry

The French surgeon Pierre Fauchard is widely considered to be the founding father of modern dentistry. His book The Surgeon Dentist, published in 1723, defined the first comprehensive system for caring for and treating teeth.

Dr. Fauchard was the first person to assert that tooth decay was caused by acids derived from sugar, refuting the centuries-old belief that cavities were caused by tooth worms. He also pioneered the use of dental fillings, and kept dentures in place by anchoring them to molars—a technique that provided the foundation for modern metal braces.

Dentistry in the USA

The world’s first dental school was established in 1828 by Dr. John M. Harris in Bainbridge, Ohio. Not long afterward, in 1840, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery was established as the first dental college in the nation, followed five years later by the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati. In 1859, the dental profession’s first official organization, the American Dental Association, was formed. And in 1867, the Harvard University Dental School was the first university-affiliated dental institution.

Dentistry & Consumer Products

In the 1870s, the soap and candle manufacturer Colgate and Company introduced the first commercial toothpaste packaged in a jar. After Dr. Sheffield introduced a collapsible tube of his Crème Dentifrice in 1892, Colgate followed suit. Mass-produced toothbrushes with nylon bristles appeared shortly after the debut of Colgate toothpaste. Proctor and Gamble was the first company to put fluoride in toothpaste, with its Crest brand in 1955.

Modern Dental Care at Villa Vista Dentistry

Of course, dental technology and techniques have come a long way over the years. At Villa Vista Dental, we keep up with the latest advancements in our industry. Our office is equipped with modern dental technology, and we constantly search for ways to improve each patient’s experience.

If you have any dental issues, or if you’re overdue for a checkup, contact us today to set up an appointment with Dr. Tin!


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!