Use Your Dental Benefits Before the End of the Year!

A computer screen showing information about dental insurance.

We’re in the final stretch of 2021. There’s probably a lot on your to-do list with the holidays fast approaching. Amid all the hustle and bustle, we want to give you an important reminder. Make sure to use your dental benefits before the year ends!

You Either Use Them or Lose Them

Dental insurance generally runs on a year-to-year basis. Any dental benefits you have paid for that haven’t been used by the end of the calendar year will most likely expire. That means that after meeting your deductible, all those “dental dollars” you’ve already earned with your monthly insurance payments will go down the drain.

Use Your Dental Insurance Benefits for Preventive Services

Wondering how to use up your dental benefits before you lose them? The first thing we advise patients to do is to check and see whether or not they’ve gotten all their dental cleanings for the year. Most insurance plans cover two every year, and it always feels great to get a professional cleaning done.

Use Your Dental Insurance Benefits for Restorative Services

We know it can be easy to delay getting dental treatment because of the higher cost of major procedures. This is a good time to discuss with Dr. Tin about finally getting that restorative treatment you’ve been delaying. If you’ve met your deductible, it might make financial sense. In some cases, we can split up the treatments so that part of the procedure is covered by this year’s dental benefits, and the rest can be scheduled in 2022 when your insurance benefits renew.

Comprehensive Dental Care in Elk Grove

If the ins and outs of dental insurance are leaving you feeling confused, don’t worry—the Villa Vista Dental team is there for you! Contact our knowledgeable team and we will be happy to answer any financial questions you might have. We’re also ready to get your end-of-year appointments scheduled before things get even busier.

Use your dental insurance benefits before they expire!


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!


Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes

3 cartoon electric toothbrushes on a stage competing for "best toothbrush".
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Proper brushing is vital to your oral health. When you brush at least twice a day, you remove the sticky plaque and bacteria that cause tooth decay. Is it better to use an electric toothbrush or a regular manual one? Villa Vista Dental in Elk Grove, CA provides a look at some key features and how the toothbrushes compare to each other.

Ease of Use

Electric toothbrushes do more of the work for you. Thanks to a battery-powered motor, the toothbrush head moves quickly. All you need to do is guide the brush around your teeth. Electric brushes are especially useful for people who have limited mobility, like someone with arthritis. With a manual brush, you’re responsible for moving the brush head over each tooth.

Cleaning Power

Research shows that, in general, electric toothbrushes remove more plaque. Most electric brushes also offer a variety of cleaning modes like a deep clean mode, sensitive mode, gum care mode, and so on. A timer on the brush ensures you clean as long as recommended by dentists. This doesn’t mean that manual brushes are ineffective. Proper brushing technique and brushing for two minutes with a manual toothbrush gets your teeth clean. It just takes more attention.

Price

Electric toothbrushes are always more expensive than manual brushes. Some are significantly pricier. You also have to keep buying replacement heads, which can cost more than a manual toothbrush. A possible benefit is that if your oral health significantly improves with an electric toothbrush, you save money on other dental costs like cavity fillings. If your oral health is already great with a manual toothbrush, an electric one may not be worth the cost.

Final Call?

So, what’s the verdict on electric vs. manual toothbrushes? When it comes to ease of use and cleaning power, electric toothbrushes win. On price, manual toothbrushes are better. Manual toothbrushes can also clean just as well as electric brushes if used properly. Whatever you choose to brush with at home, getting regular cleanings and exams at Villa Vista Dental in Elk Grove is important, too. If you have any questions or want to book an appointment with Dr. Tin, please contact us today!

Need help deciding if an electric toothbrush is worth the expense?


Coffee Alternatives to Keep Your Teeth White

A coffee pot on a counter with window in the background and a steaming mug of yerba coffee alternative in the foreground
Image by Erica Ramirez from Pixabay

As dental professionals, we have a love/hate relationship with coffee. Yes, a cup of coffee can give you the energy you need to jump start your day. On the other hand, coffee is notorious for staining teeth. To help protect your pearly whites and your productivity, our Villa Vista Dental team has come up with some coffee alternatives to keep your teeth white.

Searching for a Coffee Alternative? There’s a Long List to Choose From!

White tea, yerba mate, and rooibos are great coffee alternatives that won’t stain your teeth. White tea comes from the same plant as green tea, but is minimally processed to preserve its health benefits. As an added bonus, research shows that white tea may also prevent cavities and gum disease!

Yerba mate is a naturally caffeinated coffee alternative from South America. It is full of antioxidants and pleasant to sip on without worrying about staining your teeth. Rooibos is another great alternative to coffee. Steep a nice cup of rooibos and enjoy the nutty flavor with peace of mind that your teeth are protected.

Even if you don’t care for tea, there are countless other coffee alternatives that can put a pep in your step during the morning. Former coffee drinkers swear by golden milk, lemon water, kombucha, and even apple cider vinegar as excellent substitutes for morning coffee.

But If You Must Drink Coffee…

If you truly can’t do without your morning coffee, there are some things you can do to mitigate its staining power. After you drink your coffee, follow it with some water to rinse your mouth. Some research shows that using a straw can also help minimize stains. No matter what, keep up with your regular at-home hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and flossing each day will help protect your pearly whites and your smile.

Preventive Care in Elk Grove, CA

Let Villa Vista Dental help you keep your smile in great shape with regular preventive care visits and professional cleanings. And if your teeth are already a little stained and need whitening, we can help with that too! To ask our team any questions about caring for your oral health or to schedule your next appointment, call our office today!

Schedule an appointment for preventive care at Villa Vista Dental in Elk Grove, CA.


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!


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?