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!


6 Things That Cause Teeth to Turn Yellow

Brunette woman wearing a black hoodie covers her mouth with her hands due to embarrassing yellow teeth

Yellow teeth are not just an indication of uncleanliness. In fact, there are quite a few different reasons why your teeth may have lost their brightness. We’ll go over the most common reasons below, as well as how you can brighten up your smile.

    1. Diet

    Your diet affects your entire wellbeing, including the state of your oral health! Americans are accustomed to diets with high amounts of sugar and starch as well as acidic beverages like coffee, soda, and alcohol. Those just happen to among the most harmful things for your teeth! The bacteria that feed on sugar and starch release acid when they break them down, making it much easier for your teeth to stain and develop decay.

    2. Fluoride

    Fluoride is a natural mineral that fights decay. But if you regularly swallowed your toothpaste as a child before your permanent teeth finished erupting from your gums, you may have developed fluorosis, which looks like white streaks or even dark spots on your teeth. Make sure your own children don’t develop fluorosis by supervising their teeth brushing routine!

    3. Smoking

    Smoking causes dry mouth because it suppresses your natural immune response to bacteria, making it easier to develop infections, decay, and discoloration. Once bacteria in your mouth multiply at a fast rate, you’re more likely to experience damage to your enamel and staining.

    4. Medication

    Certain medications like tetracyclines, antibiotics, and oral contraceptives can make it easier for your teeth to turn yellow.

    5. Physical Trauma

    If you grind your teeth, you’re slowly grinding away your enamel, exposing the underlying yellow layer of dentin.

    6. Genetics

    Your tooth color can be genetic! If you’ve noticed that your family members have inexplicably dull or yellow teeth, that may be the reason why you do too. Some people have naturally weak and thin enamel, so the yellow dentin is more noticeable. Moreover, some people’s teeth are more easily affected by dietary or lifestyle changes than others.

Solutions for a Whiter Smile

You don’t have to live with yellow teeth forever, no matter the cause! While you should make any necessary lifestyle to prevent further staining, consider your teeth whitening options as well. At Villa Vista Dental, we offer ZOOM!® one-visit whitening that can brighten your smile up to eight shades in just one hour. Or utilize our custom take-home whitening trays to brighten your smile on your own schedule in the comfort of your own home.

Contact us to schedule a whitening consultation for a brighter, whiter smile!


What Schooling Does a Dentist Need?

Dark-haired woman wears a graduation cap and floral dress, shrugs her shoulders, and wonders about dental education

When you’re at the dentist’s office, laying in the reclined chair with the light overhead and getting ready to get some dental work done, we bet knowing that your dentist went to a good school and has years of training and experience would help you feel a whole lot better about what’s to come. You can rest assured knowing that not everyone can just open up a dental practice and that being a dentist requires years of education and training.

Dental School

Program Accreditation

Folks who want to be dentists have to attend a dental school for four years. Some soon-to-be dentists attend dental school while earning a bachelor’s degree while others attend after completing their undergraduate studies. These programs must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation in order for their students to become licensed dentists.

Student Application & Acceptance

Getting into dental school is no easy feat. In order to be enrolled, one must have a high grade point average, pass the Dental Admission Test (DAT), and nail interviews with school instructors. Once in dental school, prospective dentists work intensely on their coursework in classes and in lab settings. Students in dental school also spend time working in actual dental offices to ensure mastery and readiness for their careers.

Steps After Graduation

Licensure

In order to actually start practicing dentistry, graduates have to get a license, which entails passing written tests and exams. Dental licenses must be obtained from the National Board Dental Examination, and dentists must participate in continuing education to keep their dental license.

Optional Specialization

A dental school graduate can go into general dentistry or pursue a specialized field, such as orthodontics or pediatrics. Specialists must continue their education for an additional 14 months to 6 years in the form of certificates, master’s or doctoral degrees, and residency programs, depending on the field.

We Offer Dental Care of the Highest Quality

At Villa Vista Dental, we hold ourselves to high standards when it comes to education and training. Our dentist, Dr. Ricky Tin, continually pursues advanced postdoctoral coursework, and he has completed over 500 hours of continuing education. We keep up with the latest dental advancements so you will continue to receive the highest level of care possible.

Additional questions about our team’s educational or professional background?


5 Fun Facts About Dental Technology

A structure with a faucet and sink separates two cubicles with dental chairs at a dental office

We know that going to the dentist can be stressful for some people, but we work hard to prove that doesn’t have to be the case. As dental professionals, we love that our job is the business of helping people smile. We came up with a list of some cool facts related to dental technologies to show you the fun side of our profession!

1. Old-School Brushes & Toothpaste

You know that toothbrush that’s sitting in your medicine cabinet? Its modern design was invented in 1938. So what did folks do to clean their teeth back in the day, say around 3,000 BC? An early form of the toothbrush consisted of tree twigs; people would chew the twigs to fan it out and use it to clean their teeth. As far as early toothpaste options, the Ancient Greeks used some interesting ingredients, including pumice, talc, alabaster, coral powder, and iron rust.

2. The Power of Floss

Maybe you dread the dentist asking you the last time you’ve flossed, but the importance of flossing isn’t something new. Dental floss manufacturing dates back to 1882! And if you need more reason to floss consider this: average brushing only cleans about 60% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing is what thoroughly cleans those otherwise hard-to-reach surfaces between teeth.

3. Red or Blue Brush

Whatever the reason may be, people reportedly prefer blue toothbrushes to red toothbrushes. What color is your toothbrush?

4. Invention of Novocaine

You can thank Novocaine for helping make your dental experience pain-free. Unfortunately for people in the past, this local anesthetic wasn’t invented until 1903 thanks to the chemist Alfred Einhorn.

5. Ice Age Filling

Teeth found in Italy dating back to 13,000 BC are the earliest evidence of dental fillings. The teeth had holes that suggested someone had used tiny stone tools to drill out a cavity, and these holes were filled with plant fibers and hairs. Can you say, “Ow?”

If you’re interested in learning more about your dental health and diving into more dental facts, the Villa Vista Dental team would be happy to chat. Feel free to call or email us!

You have questions? We have answers!


Dental Fads to Avoid

woman with wavy brown hair, sitting by window, looking serious

The internet is filled with a whole host of tips and tricks on how to save time and a few dollars. When it comes to your mouth, Dr. Tin wants you to be armed with the facts about dental fads: Not only do the vast majority of them not work, some can even be harmful to your oral health. Read on for a tour into today’s dental fads, arranged here from the controversial (but not necessarily harmful) to the dangerous.

Oil Pulling

Advocates of oil pulling claim that swishing oil (usually coconut oil) in your mouth for a prolonged period of time will strengthen gums, whiten teeth, and fight plaque. The proclaimed benefits of oil pulling go oven further to improved sleep and an overall body detoxification. However, as noted by the American Dental Association, there is a lack of scientific studies showing that oil pulling improves oral health. Snopes, the definitive internet resource for urban legends and misinformation, debunked oil pulling in an extensive article.

Who should use it?

Although swishing oil in your mouth has not been scientifically proven to improve oral health, it’s unlikely to be damaging. Swishing water in the same way, or better yet antibacterial mouthwash, will be just as effective.

Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

The movement towards organic and all-natural everything has reached toothpaste. The main thing that distinguishes natural toothpaste is that it does not have fluoride.

Who should use it?

Fluoride-free toothpaste makes sense for children under the age of two, because most kids that age won’t fully understand how to spit it out and will be tempted to swallow their toothpaste. Ingesting high amounts of fluoride is unsafe and can lead to the development of dental fluorosis.

For everyone else though, fluoride toothpaste is generally the way to go. Fluoride is hugely beneficial because it remineralizes teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay. Topical fluoride in toothpaste is one of the main reasons that dental cavities aren’t as much of a problem as they were before fluoride.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Does it seem counterintuitive that black charcoal would help to whiten your teeth? Although charcoal toothpaste (in its activated form, not the stuff you use on the grill!) is making the rounds as the latest and greatest thing for brightening your pearly whites, there are serious concerns about the abrasiveness of charcoal.

Who should use it?

Steer clear! Using charcoal toothpaste to whiten your teeth can actually cause more harm than good. Once you lose enamel, there’s no getting it back, and enamel erosion can lead to extreme tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and cracks and chips in the enamel.

Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly are great first steps to take toward a brighter smile. Next, biyearly checkups with the team at Villa Vista Dental are also crucial to your oral health. If you’re worried about tooth discoloration, talk to our office about professional teeth whitening options.

Have more questions or want to schedule an appointment?


Why Do My Teeth Feel Fuzzy?

young woman with long dark hair, resting chin in hands, sitting at wooden table

Have you ever noticed that your teeth feel fuzzy after eating certain foods or after it’s been a particularly long time since you last brushed? Healthy teeth should feel smooth, and that unusual fuzzy feeling on your teeth is actually due to plaque.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a soft, sticky film that forms and builds up on your teeth. It forms when saliva and food combine. Saliva contains bacteria (up to 600 different kinds!) that are fed by the food we eat. These bacteria multiply and, particularly in the case of sugars and starches, can produce damaging acids that corrode the teeth’s enamel. When you allow dental plaque to linger on the surface of the teeth, it can lead to tooth decay and the wearing away of your enamel.

How to Fight the Fuzz

Here are some easy strategies for keeping that fuzzy feeling at bay.

  • Brush and floss thoroughly and regularly.
  • Remember to visit the dentist twice a year for your regular checkups.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Cut back on the sugars and starches in your diet.

Plaque Buildup

Plague that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into tartar, which is sometimes called calculus. To remove tartar buildup, you’ll need to visit the dentist’s office to get a professional cleaning.

Dr. Tin and the team at Villa Vista Dental care about your oral health (and how it impacts your overall health too!). When you come to our stress-free office, we will clean your teeth and check for any signs of tooth decay. If you are having trouble with that fuzzy-teeth feeling, don’t hesitate to talk to us about your oral hygiene habits, together we’ll figure out how to improve your plaque-fighting technique!

Have more dental questions or want to make an appointment?


Why You Should Brush Your Tongue

young man with long brown hair wearing sunglasses sticking tongue out

Here’s the deal: no one wants to have bad breath. Bad breath can affect your social life and how people see you professionally. But don’t despair—there’s an easy way to fight one of the leading causes of bad breath, and it’s probably simpler than you think: brush your tongue!

The Importance of Tongue Brushing

Can you believe that some 700 different types of bacteria live in your mouth, some of which cause bad breath? By brushing your tongue, you’re helping to make sure harmful bacteria doesn’t spread throughout your mouth, causing other dental problems including foul breath. If you’ve never brushed your tongue before, it might seem strange at first, but it’s an effective way to maintain your dental hygiene.

How to Brush Your Tongue

Brushing your tongue is extremely simple. After you brush your teeth at night, use your toothbrush to brush your tongue. Work your way from back to front and side to side to make sure you’re covering as much surface area as possible to pick up the maximum amount of bacteria. Then rinse with water at the end, and gargle if you wish. Get into the habit of brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Do I Need Special Equipment?

Some drugstores sell special tongue cleaners or tongue scrapers, but your regular toothbrush is sufficient. Just make sure to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after every use. This will help it work more effectively and last longer.

Part of Your Dental Routine

Brushing your tongue is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the freshness of your breath. If you don’t brush your tongue, you’re not just dealing with stinky breath—you’re at a greater risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Do you have other questions about maintaining your dental health?


How Oral Health Can Affect Your Overall Health

woman with long brunette hair wearing a black hat and denim shirt smiling and looking away

The team at Villa Vista Dental encourages you brush and floss regularly, and to keep consistent with your biannual dental checkups. Of course, we all want you have to have a healthy mouth so you can smile, talk, and eat easily and happily. But did you know that your physician would also want you to do the same?

It’s more than just your teeth and your breath on the line when you neglect your oral health. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research shared a report from the US Surgeon General on Oral Health in America back in 2000 that focused on the relationship between oral health and general health and well-being. The Surgeon General even called the mouth “a mirror” reflecting general health or disease status.

Tobacco Use & Diet

Lifestyle behaviors like smoking and poor diet clearly affect both your oral health and your overall health. For instance, smoking has negative cosmetic effects, like bad breath and tobacco-stained teeth, and smoking also increases your chances of developing cancers of the mouth and lungs. A diet that is high in sugar increases your risk for cavities and it is also a risk factor for general health concerns, like diabetes and obesity.

Gum Disease

Researchers involved with Dentistry Network found that people with periodontitis, or gum disease, are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. The link between the two is partly due to bacteria. Those with gum disease have inflammation in their infected gum tissue and through normal chewing or brushing allow that bacteria into the blood steam. Gum disease is also connected to stoke, although what exactly makes these two problems correlated is still being studied.

Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you already have an increased risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease also makes it harder to manage diabetes. Periodontitis and diabetes feed off each, so uncontrolled periodontitis worsens diabetes symptoms and poorly controlled diabetes will worsen periodontitis.

Pregnancy

The American Academy of Periodontology and European Federation of Periodontology have linked periodontitis to an increased risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight baby. It’s always important to maintain good oral health, and it’s especially important during pregnancy.

Your mouth and body are connected and so complications in one can (and often do) affect the other. While it’s not the whole equation, a healthy mouth is a key part of a healthy body. The foundation for good oral health and hygiene begins in at the dentist. If you’re due for a dental checkup, call us today!

Plan your next dental visit to Villa Vista Dental!


Teeth-Friendly Halloween Treats

red and green lollipops

Halloween – orange everything, spooky (but mostly fun) decorations, and of course, candies! Americans tend to go all out for this holiday. The National Retail Federation was anticipating $8.4 billion dollars for 2016’s Halloween, translating to an average of $82.93 spend on Halloween festivities. That includes the decorations, the costumes, and the most important part at least according to many kids, the candy. The NRF projected Americans spending $2.5 billion dollars on candy.

Imagine all those kids chowing down on sugary-sweet (or sour) treats. All that sugar isn’t good for their overall health, but it’s especially bad for their smiles! It’s not the sugar alone that makes cavities, but rather the sugar and the conditions in our mouths that create acid that wears away at teeth’s enamel.

Help your kids (and the neighborhood trick-or-treaters!) still enjoy the spirit of the season and keep their teeth strong and healthy by swapping out your traditional offerings of candy with some of these teeth-friendly Halloween treat options!

Teeth-Friendly Halloween Treats:

  1. 1. All candy isn’t great for teeth, but some a definitely worse than others! Sticky candies, like gummy bears or caramels, are especially bad because they stick to the teeth and prolong teeth exposure to the acids and plague produced by sugar.
    Instead, go with chocolate, especially dark chocolate (as it contains less sugar than its milky counterpart). Since chocolate melts quickly, it generally doesn’t stick to the teeth. Watch out for chocolate candies with sticky fillings (like Snickers); they’re not very teeth-friendly!
  2. 2. Sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol is another more teeth-friendly option for Halloween treats! The U.S. Department of Health notes that chewing gum sweetened with Xylitol can reduce the progression of cavities.
  3. 3. Sugar-free lollipops are also a good Halloween treat for the cavity-conscious. Sugar-free lollipops stimulate the production of saliva in the mouth and that saliva helps flush the plague and cavity-forming bacteria away from the teeth.
  4. Even with these more teeth-friendly Halloween treat options, remember to remind your children to brush correctly and regularly, and don’t slack off on regular visits to Dr. Tin at Villa Vista Dental!

    Check out The Tooth Fairy’s Halloween website, Tricky Treats, for other teeth-friendly alternatives and tips on how to keep your little ones from wreaking total havoc on their smiles during the Halloween season!

    Contact our team for more dental care tips!


Root Canal Therapy Explained

woman looking up information about root canal therapy on laptop

If the Internet is any indication, there’s nothing more terrifying than a diagnosis that requires a root canal, but the fact of the matter is this is simply not the case. In the interest of easing your anxiety, we’d like to demystify the process of root canal therapy. Villa Vista Dental’s Dr. Tin believes that the more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and this is especially true in regards to root canals.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Endodontic therapy, also known as root canal therapy, is a multistep restorative dental procedure that removes infection and protects the affected tooth from future bacterial infection. Root canal therapy allows Dr. Tin to clean and seal off the space inside the tooth that holds the nerve. There’s no need to be worried about getting a root canal: millions of teeth are saved by this procedure every year. It’s also very similar to a routine filling as it’s relatively painless and very effective. Root canal therapy is just the thing to get you smiling (and biting and chewing) again!

Why Would I Need a Root Canal?

A root canal procedure is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the tooth’s root canal becomes inflamed or infected. Untreated inflamed pulp can cause pain, lead to an abscess, and even require a premature extraction of the tooth. Check out our root canal page to see some of signs that you might need a root canal.

How Is a Root Canal Performed?

First, Dr. Tin will administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth. It’s common to feel a small pinch, but not to worry, it’s only a small pinch. Once the tooth is numb, Dr. Tin will place a “dental dam,” usually a small protective sheet, to help isolate the area and keep it clean and dry during the procedure.

Next, Dr. Tin will use very small instruments to make a hole in the tooth’s crown to clean the irritated pulp from the tooth’s chamber and root canals. He will also use a small file to shape the inner chamber of the tooth to make room for the filling. He might flush it with water to remove any remaining pulp and/or treat the chamber with an antibacterial solution to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk of future infection.

Once the chamber is clean and dry, Dr. Tin will fill it. After it’s filled, he can then place a crown over the hole in the tooth. Since Villa Vista Dental is equipped with CEREC® same-day dentistry technology, your permanent crown can be milled, placed, and polished that very same day.

If you are worried that you might need a root canal, your best course of action is to make an appointment with Dr. Tin at Villa Vista Dental in Elk Grove. He will make sure you get the appropriate treatment, whether or not that’s a root canal. As with many restorative dental procedures, prompt attention increases the likelihood of success, so contact us today!

Don’t wait to get the dental care you need for a healthy smile!