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


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?

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?

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!