Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

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

Archive for Cosmetic Dentistry

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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a general term that covers many different dental treatments used to help improve your smile. But that can mean that cosmetic dentistry is a confusing topic for some. We help clarify what cosmetic dentistry can do by answering some of the most common questions we hear about treatment:

What are my options for whitening my teeth? Generally, there are two ways to whiten your teeth with professional treatment: in-office whitening or at-home whitening kits. Both treatment methods effectively lift stains on teeth. At Austin Smile Creations, we offer the convenience of customized whitening trays for use at home under the doctor’s supervision, due to its better outcome predictability and reduced sensitivity side-effects.

How can I repair a chipped tooth? – There are many options for repairing a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the chip and which tooth is damaged. For less severe damage, it’s possible to restore a tooth to its natural appearance with a porcelain veneer or composite bonding. For a tooth in need of more comprehensive care, a porcelain dental crown can be placed. Any of these choices allows you to get a fully-restored new tooth.

If I have a lot of aesthetic smile problems, do I need extensive treatment? Not necessarily! A treatment like porcelain veneers is capable of correcting multiple flaws, such as severe discoloration, mild misalignment, cracked chipped or cracked tooth, or even teeth that are unevenly sized. However, in some instances, additional care may be required. For example, it’s always best to build a new smile on top of healthy gums, so your treatment lasts as long as possible. For this reason, Dr. Gotun may recommend periodontal therapy for patients with advanced gum disease.

What do I do for small problems like gaps between teeth, or teeth that are tipped and tilted? For mild cases of misalignment and tilted teeth, a treatment like porcelain veneers – as mentioned above – can provide a total transformation with minimal treatment. Because getting porcelain veneers requires prepping teeth and placing a thin shell of porcelain on top of them, your teeth can be re-designed to be straighter and more even.

I need to replace a whole tooth – what can I do? There are many tooth-colored and life-like options for replacing teeth. For many patients, the ideal solution is dental implant. Implants are strong and last a lifetime with proper care. However, for patients who prefer removable, or non-surgically placed, prosthetic teeth, other options include partial dentures and bridgework.

I have several decayed teeth – how can I make them look healthy again? This depends on the severity of decay on each tooth. For teeth with very small spots of decay, a tooth-colored composite filling will do the trick and leave you with a smile that looks totally natural – no metal amalgam. For moderate decay, there are onlays and inlays – pieces of porcelain (that sometimes look like puzzle pieces) which are used to replace decayed portions of teeth. In the event that there’s too much damage for a filling or an inlay/onlay, a tooth-colored dental crown can be used to restore your smile’s healthy appearance.

When it comes to helping patients get the cosmetic smile repairs they need, our office provides top-of-the-line, customized care. Dr. Gotun uses strong and beautiful tooth-colored material for all crowns, inalys, onlays, veneers, and bridges.

If you have a question about cosmetic dentistry that we didn’t answer here, contact our Austin dental office for more information.

A Life Without Your Natural Teeth

You may have missed this video from around the web last week, but if you press play, you’ll see Danica Patrick (famed NASCAR driver and GoDaddy.com spokeswoman) exercising her funny bone in this stunt that shows the unsuspecting public what life would be like without their natural teeth.

It’s something that not all of us think about — if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, you’re doing all you need to keep your teeth for life, right? While more people are keeping their natural teeth into later years, it’s possible to miss big problems (like tooth infections, abscesses, and signs of gum disease) that lead to tooth extraction, if you aren’t making your routine trips to the dental office.

If you do happen to need a tooth extracted, however, you won’t necessarily find yourself having to live in Danica’s new reality – liquefying your meals to make them easier to eat. Modern restorative dental treatments give patients options for keeping their ability to bite and chew – actions we take for granted, but that are impacted by the loss of even a few teeth.
These treatment options include:

  • Dental Implants – The most sturdy way to replace teeth, a dental implant can take the place of a whole tooth (from root to crown) or can be used to permanently secure a full arch of dentures. Dental implants are long-lasting and versatile in their ability to support new teeth and help patients improve their overall oral health.
  • Full and Partial Dentures – These tried and true prosthodontics are sets of replacement teeth that are either held in place with adhesive (full dentures) or are attached to a retainer-like device and replace a few missing teeth (partials). Either option helps you enjoy better aesthetics and function.
  • Fixed Bridges – Another choice for replacing one missing tooth, or a small group of teeth, is fixed bridges, which are permanently bonded in place and make use of sturdy dental crowns. Fixed bridges are another popular restoration that also improve the appearance of your smile and make it easier to eat.

Danica’s message hits home for many Americans who don’t put their oral health at the top of their priorities list. While it’s always best to keep your own natural teeth – you don’t have to live without full biting and chewing function in the event of tooth loss. Call Austin Smile Creations if you have questions about dental implants or other cosmetic and restorative solutions for replacing teeth in Austin, TX.

What to Look for in an Excellent Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized dental specialty, which means anyone calling themselves a cosmetic dentist is not required to complete extra training or certification to use that title. Outcome for aesthetic dental treatment therefore varies widely from one dental office to another. But here’s how you can find a cosmetic dentist who is able to help you achieve your goals, and provide you with the best in cosmetic dental care:

Treatment Options – There are many dental treatments that help you achieve similar goals. For example, a fixed dental bridge can replace a missing tooth, but it won’t last as long or look as natural as a dental implant. A good cosmetic dentist will help you pick the treatment that provides long-lasting results and looks just like your real teeth.

Choices in Materials – Furthermore, it’s important that the materials chosen for your cosmetic restoration are the best for aesthetics. A porcelain-over-metal dental crown will look natural when brand-new, but tends to age poorly – showing a black line against your gums. Restorations made from solid porcelain, ceramic, and zirconia look more like real dental enamel and are just as strong as metal crowns.

Experience and Training – While cosmetic dentistry may not be a dental specialty, there are still professional development courses in dental aesthetics that dentists can take to hone their skills. You can measure a dentist’s commitment to the best in cosmetic and restorative dentistry by how many education hours they take that go beyond the minimum required to keep their license.

Recognition – Perhaps the best measuring stick for a dentist’s cosmetic treatments are how patients, and the community, respond to their care. Before selecting a cosmetic dentist, read their patient reviews on popular sites like Google+ Local and Yelp to get an idea of their treatment approach and how satisfied past patients have been.

An Extensive Portfolio – You can further your research by visiting the dentist’s website, or even their office, to view their before-and-after portfolio. Use these images to get an idea of what finished treatment has looked like for other patients. This information will help you decide, beyond a dentist’s technical qualifications, if you actually like the way they’ve treated other patients’ smiles. Check to make sure that the cosmetic dental restorations look natural and that you’d want the same look for yourself.

At Austin Smile Creations, Dr. Tor Gotun offers the best in cosmetic dental care with options like dental implants, dentures, porcelain crowns, teeth whitening, and porcelain veneers. He has even completed over 3,000 hours of continued education, which has included specialty training in prosthodontics, TMJ therapy, and restorative dentistry. For more information about cosmetic dentistry, and to view our Before and After gallery, visit our website or schedule your consultation online.

Why Dental Implants Fail: How You Can Get Successful Treatment with Dental Implants

Dental implants have a high track record of success for restoring teeth — they’ve provided significant benefits to patients looking for ways to get new teeth that are strong and contribute to improved oral health. However, as successful as implant treatment may be, there are still issues that can prevent a dental implant from doing its job.

We take care to give our patients the best in dental implant placement. Below, we’ve listed common causes of implant failure, and how our office helps patients deal with those issues:

Lack of bone density – Your new tooth, or teeth, use a titanium post as a base for stable support. That post is surgically placed and extends into bone in your jaw, where it integrates with bone and acts as a real tooth. This process is a significant factor in the success of your dental implant treatment. If you have diminishing bone density, there’s a chance that the implant post doesn’t have sufficient tissue to anchor itself.  Before recommending dental implants, we perform a thorough oral health exam where we determine the quality and density of bone in your jaw; we won’t place an implant if it won’t actively contribute to your oral health and wellness.

Poor placement – Selecting the right angle and location for surgical placement of your implant is an important part of getting a strong restoration. Placement is critical to how the final restoration will fit into its new environment between other teeth – closing gaps, having the right angulation, and following the natural patterns of the teeth are all essential. Without properly pinpointing placement, your implant could become loose or cause discomfort.  Dr. Gotun uses cone beam imaging, 3D scanning, to create a treatment plan fitted to your needs. This diagnostic imagining creates a guide for precise implant placement that greatly boosts the success of your dental implant.

Patient health habits – Inefficient brushing and flossing practices, failing to keep your implant clean after placement, symptoms of periodontitis, and even smoking can contribute to implant failure. If gum tissue isn’t healthy, or your ability to heal from treatment is compromised from tobacco use and poor oral hygiene, there is a higher likelihood that your dental implant will fail. Our office treats periodontal problems and helps manage symptoms to improve your oral health. We help you restore ideal tissue health so that you can benefit from dental implants. 

Dr. Gotun has over 30 years of experience in helping patients restore smiles with dental implants — and we can help you too. If you have questions about getting long-lasting treatment with dental implants, contact our Austin dental office to speak to our team.

Why Choose All-Ceramic Cosmetic Dentistry?

Treatments like dental crowns, fixed bridges, and veneers help patients get beautiful new smiles, but these prosthetics have historically been made with metal – which isn’t the best for cosmetic benefit. Many modern dental patients choose all-ceramic dentistry to help improve their oral health and the naturally beautiful quality of their restored smiles.

Our all-ceramic dental treatments provide the following benefits for cosmetic dentistry patients:

No Visible Aging – Metal-based prosthetics can begin to show a black line on gums as they spend more time with your smile. All-ceramic cosmetic treatments don’t have a metal base, and won’t end up looking unnatural over time.

Strength and Durability – Many patients choose metal-over-porcelain treatments, believing them to be the best choice for long-term durability. While metal restorations are indeed strong, all-porcelain dentistry can be just as sturdy as their metal-based counterparts. Our office proudly offers Empress® crowns, veneers, and bridges, which provide increased strength for cosmetic dental restorations; these treatments are heat-pressed to offer a stable and strong base for renewed smiles.

Better Match for Natural Teeth – While porcelain-over-metal crowns and bridges could be color-matched to your natural teeth, all-ceramic cosmetic treatments more closely mimic the properties of natural dental enamel; ceramics offer a natural translucency that metal dental treatments can’t match up to.

Reduced Sensitivity to Heat and Cold – Metal conducts heat and cold, unlike ceramic materials, which means that your metal dental crowns or metal fixed bridge can cause zings of discomfort when you bite into something hot, or drink an ice-cold beverage. Metal restorations also expand and contract with temperature changes, increasing the risks for cracked teeth as the size of your restoration alters with differing temperatures.

Same-Day Production – Advances in dental technology have made getting quicker, more customized care, a reality for a greater number of patients. Machines like the E4D system in use at our office create crowns and other restorations from a solid block of porcelain or ceramic in at little as one office visit. In comparison, metal-over-ceramic treatments take weeks to be created at an outside dental lab.

We help our patients get the best in cosmetic dentistry, porcelain dental restorations, and custom-made crowns and bridges at our Austin, TX dental office. If you have questions about getting all-ceramic dental treatment, contact us to learn more or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Gotun.

Get a Clean Slate for your Oral Health with a Smile Makeover

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wanted a complete change for your smile, you’re not alone. We can help you start fresh and get back both your best smile appeal and oral functionality with a smile makeover at our Austin dental office. Also known as a full mouth restoration, this treatment plan can include a number of different general and cosmetic dentistry procedures, depending on your goals and the condition of your teeth.

Dental Treatments to Transform Your Life

With more than three decades of experience as a general and smile makeover dentist in Austin, Texas, Dr. Gotun can perform a full range of full mouth restoration treatments. Prerequisite periodontal care can involve scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), as well as working with you to improve basic oral hygiene habits so you can the best foundation for a sparkling smile.

  • If your major complaint is damage or decay, Dr. Gotun can provide tooth-colored fillings, onlays and onlays, or porcelain crowns — which sit over your real teeth, offer both protection and strength.
  • If you’re missing a tooth, Dr. Gotun might recommend a fixed bridge for you. Connected to adjacent teeth with either crowns or metal “wings” secured with dental cement, these give you a false tooth to fill your gap. If a bridge isn’t workable for you, removable dentures can address just one missing tooth or up to all of the teeth in the jaw. The king of smile makeover treatments in terms of stability, however, is the dental implant. Dr. Gotun will place a titanium rod in the jaw and cap it with a crown or fixed denture. Most patients find implants to be the most long-lasting, comfortable and natural-looking out of their tooth replacement choices, although they’re not right for everyone.
  • Misaligned teeth can be put into more ideal placement with treatments such as retainers and braces. You can get porcelain versions that are harder to see and notice than metal ones. If you really want to keep your dental work inconspicuous, your best bet is a clear tray-based system such as Invisalign®. Additional bite and jaw problems such as TMD can be fixed with simple oral appliances such as splints, which move the jaw into good alignment or keep you from grinding your teeth.

Dr. Gotun is prepared to address the aesthetic needs of your smile makeover in Austin, Texas with procedures such as laser tissue removal, tooth whitening, composite bonding and veneers. These treatments can make the gums less prominent, fill nooks and crannies in the teeth, eliminate gaps, give the teeth a truly uniform size and shape and give your smile a radiant look.

Get Back Your Smile and Be Confident

For full mouth restorations in Austin, Texas, Dr. Gotun is one of the most experienced and trusted dentists you can find. To get your customized treatment in a state-of-the-art, comfortable environment, call (512) 277-5140, or submit your appointment request through our online form.