Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

What is Dry Socket and How to Avoid It

At Austin Smile Creations, we do everything in our power to avoid the complications of dry socket after tooth extraction.  However, dry socket can be a common complication after a tooth is pulled, especially after wisdom teeth removal surgery.  So, what is dry socket and how do you prevent it from happening to you?

Dr. Gotun and his team have created this blog to ensure a comfortable recovery after oral surgery at our office.

How to Tell if You Have Dry Socket

After a tooth is pulled, normal healing processes create a blood clot at the treatment site.  The clot acts as a protective layer over nerve endings and bone in the socket the tooth once occupied, creating a healthy foundation for new bone growth and soft tissue.  Dry socket occurs when that blood clot dissolves or is somehow dislodged prior to successful healing.

Here is a list of tell-tale signs that can indicate that you have dry socket.

1. Pain at the extraction site several days post procedure.  This includes pain that you can feel around your eyes, ear, template, neck.
2. Strong unpleasant taste and/or odor in your mouth
3. Fever
4. Swollen lymph nodes

You can typically tell if you have dry socket a few days after the extraction(s). If you are experiencing this or any of the other signs listed above, contact our office for additional care.

How to Avoid Dry Socket

Prior to any extraction, our team discusses aftercare instructions with our patients to prevent dry socket.  Habits you can avoid to reduce the risk of this condition are smoking and spitting or sucking through a straw. If you take estrogen or are on birth control, let our team know, as this hormone can affect your body’s ability to create a blood clot.

You should be careful to only rinse your mouth as Dr. Gotun recommends. We know it’s tempting to want to rinse and gargle after a procedure like this, but if you take care to follow instructions closely, your recovery can be as comfortable as possible.

What to Do If You Get Dry Socket

Over-the-counter medications do not help in providing relief for the cause of symptoms of dry socket.  You will need to schedule a visit with Dr. Gotun soon as possible for treatment that promotes effective healing.

Dr. Gotun and his team are skilled in all components of advanced dentistry, including oral surgery for wisdom teeth removal.  Your health and comfort is important to us.  Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your plan for a healthy smile after surgical extraction.

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Why Should I Consider Guided Implant Surgery?

If you are one of the many American adults missing one or more natural teeth, you were likely recommended dental implants as a restorative solution. Implants prevent the deterioration of bone and muscle around the site of a missing tooth. While implant placement occurs in many dental offices, treatment approaches vary and can incorporate advanced imaging processes for a guided approach to implant surgery.

Austin Smile Creations believes in utilizing the best dental implants technology available. At our practice, this means computer-assisted implant surgery for safe and predictable results. Dr. Tor Gotun, our highly rated implant dentist, discusses this approach with you and how it is used for a personalized treatment plan.

Before starting this conversation, let’s evaluate the benefits offered by guided implant surgery:

Safety

With guided implant surgery, Dr. Gotun can see your dental architecture prior to the procedure. A 3-D model of your mouth is created using CBCT scans and implant planning software to determine the ideal placement site for your implant. Equally important, this computerized model highlights sections of the jawbone that are too weak to support implant placement. Pre-operative healing is improved and complications are minimized.

Safe placement is enhanced by the use of a custom surgical guide created from a patient’s CBCT scans. Components built-in to the guides allow implants to be placed only as deeply as needed to ensure they are safe and secure.

Predictability

Guided implant surgery is designed to produce predictable results. This is achieved through digital technologies that shift the focus from decision-making at the time of the procedure to highly accurate pre-operative preparation and planning. By taking scans and designing implant treatment in advance, implant procedures become faster surgeries that produce reliable outcomes. Surgery for a single tooth implant can take less than 20 minutes, and full arch implants have been completed in less than an hour using guided techniques.

With this technology, Dr. Gotun ensures patients are included in the decision-making process. He provides an accurate model of their mouth and shares projections on the outcome of the planned procedure before it takes place. Patients are given realistic postsurgical expectations for each treatment option as it relates to their specific dental condition.

If you are ready to see how guided implant surgery can safely and predictably restore your smile, contact our office! Set up a consultation with Dr. Gotun at Austin Smile Creations today.

Mini Dental Implants

If you use dentures but still feel self-conscious about the state of your smile, dental implants are proven to work as an alternative that function just as well as regular teeth. But if you’re concerned that the regular implant procedure is too invasive or costly, or if you’re wary of bone grafting procedures that may be needed in your case, you may want to consider mini dental implants, which offer their own unique benefits

All In the Name

Dental implants have been known to work wonders but not all patients qualify, usually due to the depleted bone volume. Fortunately mini dental implants can serve as an alternative in those cases, since they can be applied to tissue of varying strength and quality. Like their larger counterparts, mini implants are made of titanium, which provides the jawbone with a strong foundation. And since these implants, as the name suggests, are smaller, the procedure itself is less invasive and can even be a one-day appointment.

Benefits of Mini Dental Implants

Mini dental implants have their own unique perks, which include but are not limited to:

• Less expensive than conventional implants
• Existing dentures can be retrofitted to fit minis
• No bone grafting or sutures required
• Supports dentures, bridges, fixed crowns

Though mini dental implants are considered an alternative to regular implants, they share the same overall benefits:

• Healthy, natural looking smile
• Comfortable and more efficient chewing, leading to better digestion
• Improved self-esteem, which may have been affected by tooth loss
• Lasting results, with proper care

Making the Right Choice

If you’ve been researching dental implants and are not sure if they’re a right fit, take comfort in knowing that there are many ways to improve your smile. Remember – whether you go with regular or mini dental implants, it’s important to get those vacant spots in your smile filled for a variety of reasons.

Dr. Gotun is well versed in implant dentistry and offers mini implants as a means to secure full dentures. If you’re worried that you aren’t a candidate for full-sized implants, or if you’ve been turned down by another dental office, schedule an appointment with Austin Smile Creations to see how we can help. We are committed to providing the best in implant dentistry with flexible treatment options.

What Does Sedation Dentistry Feel Like?

If you’re an anxious dental patient, there can be much about a visit to the dentist that makes you fearful or uncomfortable. While dental sedation is made to ease discomfort and relax patients, if you’re new to sedation and aren’t sure what to expect, even this may make you feel anxious.

We welcome fearful dental patients for comfortable care with dental sedation in our Austin, TX dental office. To help clarify what sedation feels like, in order to make the procedure transparent for our anxious patients, you can expect the following:

Sleepiness or Grogginess

Oral conscious sedation produces feelings of relaxation by using common anti-anxiety medication that puts you at-ease and promote tranquility. While the medication may make you want to go to sleep, not all patients fall asleep while sedated. Coupled with its amnesiac properties, this sedated feeling of sleepiness can make you feel as though you are actually asleep, but you will still be conscious enough to ask and answer questions of our dental team.

Momentary Amnesia

In many cases, sedation is meant to produce an amnesiac affect. After your appointment is complete, you won’t be able to recall the time you spent during treatment, even though you were conscious. For patients who have had previous bad experiences at a dental office, knowing that they won’t remember sights, sounds, or smells from their dental visit is comforting, as these can sometimes trigger feelings of anxiety. This amnesiac effect wears off as the medication’s effects wane over the course of a few hours. For patients who chose nitrous oxide, these effects can be reversed quickly through the inhalation of pure oxygen.

Feelings of Relaxation Post-Treatment

Depending on how long it takes the medication to work its way through your system, this feeling of tranquility and deep relaxation can last for a few hours. We recommend that you take some time to rest at home after your sedation appointment as the medication wears off. Patients who undergo oral conscious sedation will not be permitted to operate machinery, such as driving themselves to and from their appointment.

If you have any questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, call our Austin dental office for more information. Dr. Gotun and his team are happy to help anxious patients find an easier, worry-free way to get oral health care through dental sedation.

Dental Implants: Beyond the Cosmetic Appeal

Tooth loss affects millions of Americans every year. Traditionally, dentures and bridges have been the go-to solution for this problem; however, as dental technology has improved, so have alternative solutions for replacing teeth.  Dental implants are not only cosmetically appealing, but also provide a resilient, long-lasting solution to tooth loss. In addition to looking natural, dental implants offer numerous benefits that can help you achieve and maintain great oral health. If you’re facing tooth loss, here are some reasons why dental implants may be an excellent solution for you:

Improving Overall Dental Health

Dental implants encourage better dental health in several ways: by replacing the root of the tooth with a titanium post, your new teeth act in the same way as your natural teeth and nurture bone health and oral function. In comparison to dental implants, dentures may cause inflammation, as well as canker sores, by rubbing on soft tissue.

Preserving Jawbone

Tooth loss can severely weaken the jawbone, putting you at risk of further tooth loss and dental complications. Through the process of osseointegration, the titanium posts of the dental implants fuse to and reinforce bone. This can prevent facial collapse and premature aging commonly seen in patients with multiple missing teeth.

Preventing Movement of Existing Teeth

Following tooth loss, the surrounding teeth gradually shift to fill the empty gap. This can have a domino effect on the alignment of your bite and jaw and lead to other health problems. To be held properly in place, traditional dentures and bridges rely heavily on surrounding teeth and bone. Implants help prevent the shifting of existing teeth by permanently filling in the gaps in your smile.

Implants Do Not Require Special Care

Dental implants are made of biocompatible materials and are permanent fixtures to your new smile; they require no additional maintenance aside from your regular oral hygiene routine. You don’t need special soaks, rinses, or flossing tools to keep your implant clean.

Flexibility

Dental implants provide an excellent alternative for patients requiring multiple restorations in the event of total tooth loss.  Implants can be strategically placed to provide maximum support for a customized, removable over-denture. Implant-supported dentures look and fit naturally, leaving the patient with a healthy smile.

With over 30 years of experience and more and 3,000 hours of continuing education, Dr. Gotun has helped many patients restore their smiles with dental implants. If you are interested to find out more about dental implants, contact our Austin office today to schedule a consultation.

Solutions for Complications Caused by Periodontal Disease

Gum disease can have far-reaching effects on your oral health and appearance. When caught early, gum disease can be prevented, but for some dental patients with moderate or advanced periodontitis, complications have set-in and started to negatively impact their smile.

Patients struggling with gum disease have options, however, for treating the following side-effects associated with the condition:

1.) Damaged or Loose Teeth – Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of debris and plaque, which hardens into tartar, below the gum line and around teeth. Tartar is dangerous because it’s difficult to remove and can eat into dental enamel, weakening teeth and causing them to loosen. In these instances, if teeth cannot be saved, it’s often recommended that they be extracted and replaced with healthy alternatives, like dental implants. Implants become a permanent part of bone in your jaw, like real teeth would be, and provide the stability of your natural dentition.

2.) Increased Pocket Size – When bacteria and debris collect below the gum line, as mentioned above, they form pockets of infection around teeth. Pockets can increase in size and cause tissue to pull away from teeth, eventually exposing roots – in cases of extreme periodontal disease – and weakening supporting oral structures.  When these pockets begin to develop, therapies to reduce their size include root scaling and planing (deep cleaning) or pocket reduction surgery, in some cases.

3.) Gum Recession – Gum recession is a concern for cosmetic and oral health reasons, as less soft tissue around teeth means that there less support for teeth to remain strong and healthy. Recessed soft tissue also make teeth look long, off-setting the appearance of your smile. Gum grafts are often used to replenish these supportive tissues and allow your smile to look naturally healthy.

4.) Build-up of bacteria –It’s important to clean away or clear out any bacteria that could cause symptoms to return.  Root scaling and planing helps smooth the roots of teeth to prevent bacteria from sticking, and anti-bacterial treatments like Arestin help flush away any remaining bacteria, so your soft tissue has a chance to recover.

At Austin Smile Creations, we use modern technology to provide comfortable periodontal care. We help our patients find solutions to complex oral health problems and regain strong and healthy smiles. Dr. Gotun performs periodontal deep cleanings and uses a dental laser for gentle care and faster post-treatment healing times. If you have any questions about periodontal therapy, please contact our office for more information.

Why You Should Consider Laser Dentistry for your Next Treatment

A dental laser might seem like a piece of science fiction to some patients, or may even be seen as a unnecessary treatment aid by people who never experienced it. The truth is, dental lasers provide significant benefits to patients in need of soft tissue treatment, like gum grafting, or periodontal deep cleanings.

If gum contouring, gum grafting, or a deep cleaning have been recommended as a part of your dental plan, here are ways a laser can help you get comfortable care:

Laser Root Scaling and Planing is Gentle

If you’ve ever had your teeth deep-cleaned with standard dental tools, you probably recall a feeling of soreness that resulted from a hands-on cleaning below the gum line.  While deep cleanings are important for keeping gum disease at bay, a dental laser is able to do the same job as more traditional dental tools, without similar force and without producing discomfort. With a laser, Dr. Gotun is able to clean below your gum line without the scraping action you would experience with standard dental tools.

Lasers Seal and Promote Healing

For treatments like gum grafts and gum contouring, where sections of soft tissue are removed, a dental laser is capable of doing this and then sealing the treatment site, so you heal faster and don’t have to deal with stitches. For some laser procedures, the treatment alone has become so comfortable that local anesthetics are often not needed.

Lasers are Precise and Quiet

Dental lasers are great at killing bacteria and targeting specific areas of teeth for treatment. With a periodontal deep cleaning, a soft tissue laser can more thoroughly clear-out bad bacteria than a dental pick would be able to reach.  In comparison to a dental drill, a laser doesn’t create the same buzzing noise that can cause anxiety in fearful patients.

If you have questions about how dental lasers can be incorporated into your treatment plan, call Austin Smile Creations for more information.  Dr. Gotun uses a diode laser to assist in periodontal disease treatment, gingivectomy, frenectomy, and other soft tissue procedures.