How Can I Reduce My Dental Anxiety?

Woman relaxing at the dentist with headphones to help with dental anxiety.

According to a study done in 2017, between 50 and 80% of adults in the country experience some form of dental anxiety. That’s a lot of folks who are worried about visiting the dentist! Do you struggle with dental anxiety? It’s important to know that there are steps you can take to alleviate that feeling. Here are some tips for managing your dental anxiety so you can receive the oral health care that your smile needs.

Use Your Dental Office’s Amenities

Chances are that your dental office has some assortment of patient amenities available. Villa Vista Dental offers a number of extras to help our patients feel at ease. These include soft blankets and pillows that you can cuddle up with to feel more comfortable in the dental chair. Additionally, noise-canceling headphones eliminate the sound of the dental tools in action. We also offer TVs with a variety of shows to watch in the treatment rooms. They can distract you from the dental work you’re getting so you don’t think about feeling anxious. Any combination of these could be used to encourage relaxation. They’re available as a free service to dental patients.

Ask Your Dentist about Dental Sedation

Dental sedation is used to help patients through more intensive procedures like oral surgery. However, it can also be used to keep patients who experience dental anxiety feeling calm and content. Villa Vista Dental offers two types of sedation. The more mild nitrous oxide helps most patients feel relaxed. If another step is needed, we offer oral conscious sedation. These are both safe sedation choices. Not all practices offer sedation, so it’s worth asking your dentist what they have available. Our Elk Grove team always considers what option would be right for your unique situation.

Managing Dental Anxiety in Elk Grove, CA

Want to discuss your dental anxiety in more depth in a private setting? Contact Dr. Ricky Tin at Villa Vista Dental. We are happy to chat with you about what can be done in order for you to receive the dental treatments you need to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

We can help you manage your dental anxiety!


5 Tips for Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Photo of an electric toothbrush next to a regular toothbrush.

Next time you go to the grocery store or your local drugstore, have a look at the dental section. Chances are you’ll see a wide variety of toothbrushes coming from an array of companies and coming in many different designs and colors. So how in the world are you supposed to pick the “right” one?

Too Many Choices?

The fact is, there’s not one perfect toothbrush that’s right for everyone. However, there are some tips you can follow to find a great one.

  • 1. Check Bristle Firmness
  • One thing you’ll want to confirm is whether or not a toothbrush has a soft bristle. Soft bristles are the way to go! If the bristle is too hard, it can cause damage to your teeth and gums, rather than helping you maintain great oral health.

  • 2. Decide on the Right Size & Grip
  • Toothbrushes come in different sizes and with different grips. You want one that will be easy to use depending on your age, mobility, and lifestyle. After all, if you have a toothbrush that’s annoying to hold and manage, then it might prevent you from brushing as often as you need to.

  • 3. Find the ADA Seal of Approval
  • There are some dental products out there that have a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. This means that the professional association vetted the products and found them to be effective.

  • 4. Consider Electric
  • There’s nothing wrong with manual toothbrushes when used correctly, but many people find electric toothbrushes are easier to use and give a better clean. If you can afford it, consider going for an electric toothbrush that does most of the hard work for you. Another advantage of electric toothbrushes is that most have a 2 minute timer so you are sure to brush long enough.

  • 5. Ask Your Dentist
  • When in doubt, ask your dentist. They’re operating in the world of dental tools day in and day out, and they should be up-to-date on the best products out there at that moment. On top of that, they know your dental health history and they can help figure out the specific toothbrush that works for your specific smile needs.

Preventive Dental Care in Elk Grove, CA

The Villa Vista Dental team is here to help you maintain excellent oral health. If it has been six months or more since your last visit, it’s time to give us a call. Brushing with the right toothbrush is awesome but you can’t keep your smile in tip top shape all by yourself! We look forward to seeing you soon for a professional hygiene cleaning and dental exam.

Choose a toothbrush that will make you want to brush!


Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth if They’re Almost Always Removed?

Masked dental professionals holding surgical tools are looking down on a patient ready for wisdom tooth extraction.

Most people only think of wisdom teeth in one particular situation – when they need to get them removed. Wisdom teeth are our third set of molars and they don’t erupt until we are near adulthood, around the ages of 17 to 21. This is also where they get their name. By the time they come in, you’re probably (hopefully) a bit wiser.

The Problem with Wisdom Teeth

Generally by the time wisdom teeth come in, an individual who had misaligned teeth has already had braces. Crowding caused by wisdom teeth can move teeth out of alignment. These aren’t the only problems caused by erupting wisdom teeth. Some signs of trouble you might experience are jaw pain, gum tenderness, stiffness opening your mouth all of the way, or infections behind your last tooth. Why do we have these teeth when we usually have to get rid of them the moment they make their grand entrance? That’s a very good question!

Changes in Our Jaw

Over the years, human jaws have gotten smaller. This, in turn, means there may not be enough room in our mouth for all of our teeth. It’s not just about wisdom teeth either. Some people may need to get one or more of their other teeth extracted to prevent crowding. This means that humans used to have room in their jaws for 32 teeth, including four wisdom teeth. Now some people barely have room for 28 teeth.

Changes in Our Diet

The fact that jaws are smaller has been proven by comparing fossil evidence. This is mostly due to the fact that the type of food we eat and how we eat that food has significantly changed over time. We don’t need the extra chewing power provided by wisdom teeth like our ancestors did when most food was tough and hard to chew. Because our diet consists of more soft or processed foods, our jaws are weaker and smaller. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of discussion among scholars.

Wisdom Tooth Removal in Elk Grove, CA

If you suspect that your wisdom teeth aren’t coming in correctly, Villa Vista Dental can help. Our team will take images of your teeth to determine whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be removed. If it is determined that it will be best for your oral health to remove them, you can feel confident scheduling your wisdom tooth extraction with Dr. Tin. He has removed many wisdom teeth as part of our restorative services. Our team will provide you with excellent care and thorough aftercare instructions. Contact us for a consultation today!

Our team provides gentle wisdom tooth extraction when needed!


Why You Shouldn’t Fear a Root Canal

Man with his hand to his cheek because of tooth pain.

If you’ve been experiencing painful toothaches accompanied by extreme sensitivity when your teeth are exposed to different temperatures, you might be suffering from an infected tooth root. When an infection spreads down to your tooth roots, the life of the tooth is threatened. Is it possible to save the tooth? That’s where root canal therapy comes in! Root canals play a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy smile.

Why Get a Root Canal?

Root canals have a reputation for being painful, long procedures. Actually, the truth is that they’re not that much different from any other restorative treatment, like getting a cavity filled. A root canal is designed to remove infected tissue from the tooth root and salvage any of the tooth’s natural healthy tissue. Infections typically spread to the root because of an untreated cavity or decay that is caused by poor oral hygiene or trauma.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

Your body will send some signs to alert you when it is invaded by infection. Here are some of the typical signs that indicate you have an infected tooth root.

  • Severe toothache that throbs when you bite down
  • Sensitivity to hot & cold temperatures
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Painful, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Chips or cracks in teeth
  • Wiggly tooth
  • Gumline abscess

Procedure for Root Canal Therapy

Before you get root canal therapy, Dr. Ricky Tin will take x-rays of your tooth to identify the extent of the infection in your tooth. Our team will then carefully numb the area around your tooth to help make your procedure pain free. During the procedure, we will dry the area around your tooth and drill a small hole into it to access the infected tissue. Next Dr. Tin will flush out all of the infected tissue, replacing it with a substance called gutta percha before sealing up the tooth. Depending on the extent of the damage to your tooth, we may close out the procedure with either a filling or a crown. If a crown is needed, we offer Cerec Same Day crowns.

Caring for Your Tooth After a Root Canal

It’s common to feel pain or sensitivity around your tooth after root canal therapy, and you can use over-the-counter pain medication to help with it. Our team will give you thorough aftercare instructions to help you heal faster. Once your tooth is healed, you can proceed with your regular dental care regimen. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly twice a day to prevent infection and visit Villa Vista Dental twice a year to prevent or treat cavities in their early stages.

Affordable Root Canal Therapy in Elk Grove, CA

If you are experiencing symptoms of a root canal infection, contact our office to schedule a consultation right away. We promise you that the pain of an ongoing infection and subsequent tooth extraction are far worse than root canal therapy! Villa Vista Dental proudly offers a variety of financing options to make our services affordable. Our staff is always willing to help answer any questions you might have about your visit, so don’t hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to seeing you!

Root canals eliminate pain & save your tooth!


What Your Tooth Pain May Be Telling You

Dark haired woman with her fingers to her cheek because of tooth pain.

Living life to the fullest with tooth pain can be very difficult. Things like speaking, chewing, and even yawning can cause sharp pain. If you’re currently experiencing tooth pain, Villa Vista Dental will help you find a solution so you can become pain free. Read on to learn about some of the common causes of tooth pain.

Reasons You May Be Experiencing Tooth Pain

The first step to combatting tooth pain is to identify the underlying cause. There are many factors that may be causing your tooth pain. Dr. Tin will seek to discover what is causing your tooth pain before determining a treatment plan that best suits your situation. Here are some of the most common reasons for tooth pain.

  • Cavities
  • Decay causes the dental pulp inside the tooth to become swollen so that it puts pressure on the tooth’s nerve.

  • Cracked or Broken Tooth
  • Dental trauma can damage or expose the tooth’s nerve, causing pain and discomfort.

  • Enamel Erosion
  • Enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth. When enamel is lost it exposes the sensitive dentin layer underneath.

  • Gum Recession
  • Gum recession exposes the tooth’s roots. This can cause extreme sensitivity when brushing or eating hot and cold foods.

  • Periodontal (Gum) Disease
  • Gum disease causes soft tissue inflammation and can lead to tooth decay.

  • Teeth Grinding
  • Grinding wears down teeth over time and can expose sensitive nerves.

  • Whitening Treatment
  • After a whitening treatment, you may experience temporary tooth sensitivity.

Schedule Your Tooth Pain Consultation

Are you suffering from chronic tooth pain? The sooner you seek treatment the better. Tooth pain can indicate a serious underlying dental issue. The longer you wait, the more severe the dental problem may become, eventually resulting in a dental emergency. At Villa Vista Dental, Dr. Ricky Tin and our knowledgeable team have years of experience diagnosing and treating dental pain. Our mission is to help patients regain a healthy, pain-free smile. Please contact our office to schedule your dental consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Come see us to eliminate your tooth pain!


Don’t Avoid Your Dental Cleaning Due to COVID

Cartoon of a family of four standing next to an oversized tooth and toothbrush.

Are you one of those people who has put off their dental care due to the pandemic? We understand the conundrum, but we are here to assure you that you can safely visit Villa Vista Dental. The last thing we want is for your teeth to suffer. Read on to hear how we’re keeping our patients safe while keeping their teeth healthy.

COVID-19 Protocols at Our Practice

There’s nothing more important to us than the health of our patients and our staff. As such, we have developed a plan to service our patient’s smiles safely and effectively during this time. We are currently following any and all CDC guidelines and tracking them as they evolve and change. This includes social distancing, sanitizing, and any other protocols that help to make our office safe and comfortable for everyone in it! Additional time has been scheduled between appointments and a Covid-19 questionnaire has been implemented to ensure that everything runs smoothly and exposure to illness is avoided. Comprehensive information about our COVID-19 protocols is available on our website, and you can always call our office with your questions!

The Importance of Routine Dental Care

It’s so important that you keep up with your dental care now that our offices are back up and running. With regular dental care we can catch issues early and prevent them from becoming something much worse. If you keep up with your visits every six months and continue with a good oral care routine at home, you will likely keep your smile beautiful and healthy for years to come.

Dental Health & Wellness in Elk Grove, CA

We believe that dental care is about more than just the health of your smile. We’re here to keep our patients’ smiles looking great and their whole health in check. Villa Vista Dental takes a comprehensive approach to dental health. We look forward to seeing our regular customers back in our office. And as always, new patients are welcome. Make an appointment by calling us directly or clicking the contact link.

Don’t put off getting the dental care you need!


Tips for Healthier Gums

Cartoon of a mouth with bleeding gum due to gum disease.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Did you know that 50% of adults over 30 have gum disease? Gum disease often develops when you don’t maintain good oral hygiene. Tender, bleeding gums are usually a sign of gum disease. If untreated, it can cause tooth decay, tooth loss, and even bone loss. How do you keep your gums healthy? Here are some tips.

Brush & Floss Every Day

Brushing and flossing well are the best things you can do for your gum health. When you don’t clean your teeth well, plaque and tartar build up and irritate your gums. When brushing, be sure to hold your soft-bristled brush at a 45-degree angle against your gum line.

Don’t forget to floss once a day! Flossing is very important for gum health because it removes food and plaque from places your brush can’t reach. If you haven’t flossed in a while, a little bleeding is normal. Not getting the results you want from brushing and flossing? During your dental exam, ask Dr. Tin for advice.

Don’t Use Tobacco

Smokers are twice as likely to get gum disease as non-smokers. This is because smoking weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight gum disease. Chewing tobacco comes with an increased risk for cavities, gum irritation, and mouth cancers. If you want healthier gums and you use any tobacco products, quitting is a great idea.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Your whole body – including your teeth and gums – benefits from a nutritious diet. Fresh produce, dairy, and whole grains are all linked to better gum health. These foods are packed with nutrients that support your soft tissues. Many also help the body fight against harmful bacteria. If you’re looking for another reason to improve your diet, healthier gums is a good one!

Get a Healthy Smile at Villa Vista Dental

At our Elk Grove office, we offer cleanings and exams that keep your gums healthy. If your gums need some extra love, we’ll most likely recommend scaling and root planing. This deep cleaning treats more advanced gum disease. If you have any questions for Dr. Tin or you want to schedule an appointment, please get in touch today!

Good hygiene & regular dental exams keep your gums healthy!


Types of Dental Cleanings

Cartoon showing little elves helping with a deep teeth cleaning.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Did you know that there’s more than one type of dental cleaning? You may not think twice about it if you regularly visit the dentist for a standard cleaning. However, there are more specialized types of dental cleanings to take care of specific problems. Here’s a quick rundown of the main types of dental cleanings.

Prophylaxis Cleanings

The name sounds fancy, but this is actually the standard teeth cleaning and most likely what you’re getting when you go in for your check-up. During a prophylaxis cleaning, any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth is removed. Tartar forms when plaque has hardened, and it can only be removed by a dental professional with special tools. No matter how well you care for your teeth at home, you can’t remove all of the plaque that builds up over time. Basically, this is the kind of cleaning you get if you have a generally healthy mouth.

Scaling & Root Planing

Sometimes referred to as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing is used to treat gum disease. The “scaling” portion is when plaque and tartar are removed from not just the surface of the teeth, but also from the pockets under your gum line. The “root planing” portion is when your tooth roots are essentially smoothed out, making it easier for the gums to reattach. Since this type of cleaning is more intensive, it is often performed with local anesthetic.

Debridement

A debridement or gross debridement cleaning is used for people who have never visited the dentist, who haven’t visited the dentist in quite some time, or who have struggled to maintain a healthy oral care routine. Performed with a special electrical tool, this kind of cleaning can remove a heavy build-up of plaque and tartar.

Dental Cleanings in Elk Grove, CA

Speaking of dental cleanings, is it time for yours? Book your appointment at Villa Vista Dental by calling us or clicking the contact link below. In addition to routine exams and cleanings, we also offer a wide variety of other dental services. Whatever your smile needs may be, we’re here for you.

Twice a year dental cleanings keep your smile in great shape!


How to Help a Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Little girl riding a trike with parents helping from behind.

It is natural for children to be afraid of things that are unfamiliar to them, even something as fun as riding a bike! Is your child afraid of going to the dentist’s office? This is quite a common issue with young patients. Many adults also deal with dental anxiety! The good news is there are plenty of strategies you can try as a parent to help alleviate your child’s fear so they can build healthy dental habits in the years to come.

Stay Positive

When talking about the dentist, make sure you stay positive. Avoid using any scary-sounding words like “pain,” “surgery,” or “drill.” Whether you’re talking about your treatment or your child’s, these words heard by young ears can make the dental office seem pretty frightening. If you’ve had negative dental experiences in the past, be careful about sharing those with your child. You don’t want to pass on your concerns to them.

Play Pretend

Before it’s time for your child to go in for their dental appointment, consider a game of pretend. In the familiarity of your home you can walk them through what they’re going to experience at our Elk Grove office. For example, you can pretend to be a dentist teaching them about their teeth. Show them how to brush and hold up a mirror like dental hygienists normally do. Alternatively, you can let your child pretend to be the dentist who’s taking care of their stuffed animal or doll’s teeth. Either way, they’ll become more familiar with the general process.

Read Dental Books for Kids

Switch up the normal bedtime story routine and read your child a colorful picture book related to dental care. There are lots of children’s books available at public libraries that are designed to show kids how fun and important visiting the dentist is, and what it means to have good oral hygiene. With these fun stories in the back of their mind, a dental visit can seem far less intimidating.

Family Dental Care at Villa Vista Dental

If you’re still having trouble getting your child to feel comfortable at a dental office, please feel free to reach out to us at Villa Vista Dental. We see patients young and old at our inviting Elk Grove practice, and we’re happy to help you figure out the best way to ease your child’s concerns. Call or email us today!

We want your child to feel comfortable at the dentist!


Benefits of Saving Your Natural Tooth Over Extracting It

Graphic showing how a root canal is used to eliminate infection and save the natural tooth.

Long ago, before modern dentistry, simply removing a tooth that caused problems was very common. Thankfully, dentistry has advanced so now we know how to keep teeth strong and healthy. When teeth do suffer from problems like an infection, we try to save the natural tooth instead of extracting it. Why? What are the benefits of saving a natural tooth?

Natural Teeth: There’s Nothing Better

When you have a tooth removed, you can get a replacement, but no matter how good the replacement is, it’s not the same. When a tooth is extracted, it affects the natural structure of your mouth and removes the root. Replacements like dentures and bridges help restore your smile and chewing function, but they don’t replace the root. As a result, your jawbone doesn’t receive stimulation from chewing. Over time, you lose bone density, which leads to other tooth problems and changes in your facial appearance.

What About Dental Implants?

Dental implants replace roots with a biocompatible titanium post, which helps with jaw stimulation. They still aren’t better than a healthy natural tooth, however. The process of getting dental implants also takes a while and they can be costly. If you’ve already lost a tooth, implants are great, but if you still have your natural tooth, we will do what we can to preserve it.

How We Save Teeth

Whenever possible, Dr. Tin will save your natural teeth. A root canal is one of the most common and effective ways to do that. Root canals have a bad reputation, but they are a much better alternative to extraction and they have a high success rate. Thanks to modern dentistry, root canals are not scary anymore. After treatment, you might experience some inflammation or mild discomfort, but it’s nothing compared to what you likely felt before the root canal.

Protecting Your Teeth at Villa Vista Dental

Here at our Elk Grove office, we want to protect your smile and oral health. Saving a natural tooth instead of extracting it is one of the ways we do that. You can keep your teeth strong and healthy with good oral hygiene habits at home and checkups every six months. You may never need a tooth-saving treatment like a root canal, but if you do, we’re here to make the experience as smooth and comfortable as possible. Please contact us today with any questions!

We work hard to protect your smile and oral health!